Spring Training: What Happens To Players Cut From MLB Camp In 2021?

With just three weeks until Opening Day, teams are starting to make some of their first cuts of spring training. However, just like most everything else surrounding the game over the last two years, reassigning players to minor league camp isn’t as simple as it was in the years prior to the pandemic. 

In previous years, players would move from big league camp to the backfields, where they would assimilate into the existing group of minor leaguers and begin practicing and playing games against other teams in the area. 

This year, most of a team’s minor leaguers aren’t slated to arrive in Arizona or Florida until big league camp breaks, meaning there’s not enough players—to say nothing of the strict coronavirus protocols still in place—to behave as normal. 

Instead, several farm directors said, players cut from big league camp will work out with players in the same boat in a sort of alternate alternate site scenario. 

“We will keep them in camp I believe,” one farm director said, “but (they’ll) practice separately from the other players and be informed they are not making the team or being optioned.”

Alternate training sites will be in play in 2021 as well, though this will not be the same. The White Sox’s 2021 alternate site will once again be Schaumburg, Ill., for example, but the players cut from camp before that gets going will get their work in at the team’s spring training home at Camelback Ranch in Glendale, Ariz. 

Some teams have also chosen to have mini camps for some of their prospects who aren’t part of big league spring training, and minor leaguers who have been cut from big league camp will simply be added to those groups for their day-to-day work. 

When it comes down to it, very little will change for the players who are sent out of big league camp. They’ll still do their day-to-day work to get ready for the upcoming season, but they’ll just do it on different fields, with different groups of players and away from game situations.

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