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MLB Extends Pay For Minor Leaguers Through May 31



Correction: The story has been updated to reflect that players slated to play in the Dominican Summer League this year are not covered by the announcement. Minor leaguers who had come to the U.S. and have been sent back home to the Dominican Republic (and other countries) are included in those being paid.

Major League Baseball announced on Tuesday that it will continue paying minor leaguers $400 a week once Minor League Baseball's scheduled Opening Day arrives next week.

The decision provides financial security for players who had been left wondering if they would continue to be paid during the now-suspended season. Players are not eligible for unemployment because they remain under contract, but their contracts normally only pay them when they are playing regular season games.

The current plan pays players through May 31 unless the season begins earlier than that. The announcement does not cover players slated to play in the Dominican Summer League. MLB announced those players will be handled by clubs on an team-by-team basis.

Minor leaguers will continue receiving medial benefits as well. The exceptions to this plan are players who are already receiving housing, food or other services from clubs; and players on the restricted, voluntary retired, disqualified or ineligible lists.

For players at the lower levels of the minors, the $400 a week represents a pay raise. Players slated for extended spring training would not have been paid at all until they broke camp and headed to short-season and rookie ball teams. (Their housing and meals are generally provided when they are at team complexes in Arizona and Florida).

For minor league veterans, this announcement means a dramatic pay cut. For players who were slated to make $10,000 or more a month to play in Triple-A, the $400 a week will mean they are getting a small portion of what they would have made if games were being played.

But for the vast majority of MiLB players who have not been on a 40-man roster or reached MiLB free agency, the announcement represents needed financial security during a difficult time.

However, not everyone is going to get paid. Baseball America has learned that umpires at all levels of the minor leagues have been told to file for unemployment. They will not be paid until the season resumes and games are played. MLB did pay MiLB umpires what they would have received for working spring training games or camp games that were cancelled.

Frank Thomas Focusonsport

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