MiLB Players Given Green Light To Play Indy Ball
Correction: An MLB front office official clarified that MLB teams must give their consent to allow a current MiLB player to play in independent baseball.
Even with the minor league season still in limbo, prospects who get left out of their teams' player pools still have a path toward development before 2021.
Affiliated minor league players' contracts are currently suspended because of the national emergency created by the novel coronavirus pandemic. Major League Baseball has informed its teams that they can allow minor leaguers to play in independent leagues until those contracts are reinstated, multiple MLB and independent league officials who had been apprised of MLB’s decision told Baseball America. An MLB front office official said that MLB teams must give their consent to allow the players to play independent ball.
Finding a place to play may be somewhat difficult because the coronavirus pandemic has also forced a number of independent leagues to suspend their seasons.
The American Association is set to play a 60-game schedule with six teams beginning on July 3.
The Frontier League and Atlantic League have both announced that they will not be able to play a championship season this year, freeing their teams to develop their own plans to play. Some Frontier League and Atlantic League teams are working to play smaller, locally based seasons, set to begin later in July.
Any MiLB players who opt to play in independent leagues would be taking on risks. Injuries sustained in such activities could be treated by MLB teams as grounds for contract termination.
But it would give players a chance to play and even get paid to do so. Baseball America has heard stories that some minor leaguers have been playing in local amateur leagues just to get onto the field. So far, BA has not learned of any players who have yet signed to play, but officials in independent ball say they expect there will be some interest.
The process has to be begun by the player. MLB teams are prevented from suggesting that a player play indy ball.
D-Backs RHP Jayson McKinley, a Houston native, has signed to pitch in the Skeeters League in Houston.