With just a few days remaining until the March agreement to play minor leaguers $400 per week expired (May 31), Major League teams had not adopted a common approach going forward.
The first team news to come out this week was bad. The Oakland A’s decided to stop paying their players for the remainder of 2020. This drew negative reactions from many around the game.
A's told minor leaguers they've decided to end their $400/week stipend on May 31, with five days' notice. The part that says "your UPC remains in place" means "we won't pay you, but you do not have the right to be a free agent." Interesting this was sent by GM and not ownership. https://t.co/PJ2B4k1d5B
— Lindsey Adler (@lindseyadler) May 27, 2020
On Thursday, the news from the St. Louis Cardinals was mixed. The majority will continue to receive their pay through at least the end of June, a good thing.
#Cardinals will continue to pay the allowance to their minor-league players through the end of June, official says. Decisions are made month to month, but team is hopeful to pay through the end of a season. #stlcards #MLB
— Derrick S. Goold (@dgoold) May 28, 2020
However, for a minority, the news was bad – career-ending bad. The Cardinals joined a number of other organizations which decided to implement another wave of player releases rather than continue to pay them.
While the 2020 minor league season has not yet been officially canceled, most expect this will be the final outcome. For 2021, the Cardinals are expected to shed two affiliates, the State College Spikes of the Short-Season Class A New York-Penn League and the Johnson City Cardinals of the Rookie Advanced level Appalachian League.
#STLCards another team releasing minor leaguers today, according to multiple sources. Known teams to make cuts: Mariners, Brewers, Reds, Mets, Nationals, Orioles, Rockies, Braves, DBacks, Rays.
— Robert Murray (@ByRobertMurray) May 28, 2020
Back on March 31, 10 Cardinals minor leaguers were dropped.
Following that, the organization had 252 minor leaguers, excluding 40-man roster players. Among them are roughly 90 international players assigned to the Dominican Summer League rosters. Those academy players are not part of the $400 weekly payments.
That left about 160 Cardinals minor leaguers in the US who had been receiving the $400 each week. Seven new recruits may soon join the organization through the condensed June 10-11 First-Year Player Draft.
The newest cuts appear to be MLB-wide.
In normal years, cuts happen but not en masse like this. The fallout from the coronavirus, expected minor league contraction and the anticipated cancellation of the 2020 minor league season prompted organizations each to release dozens of players, who were being paid $400 a week.
— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) May 28, 2020
This next go-round of releases include a number of additional ex-Cardinals. Once their names are known, I will provide an update with details.
In March through May 2018 and 2019, the Cardinals released 36 and 19 players, respectively. Full details are in prior versions of the Roster Matrix.
To track the status of the Cardinals’ 40-man roster as well as all players in the system by position and level, check out the Roster Matrix, always free and updated here at The Cardinal Nation. Also included is every player transaction across the full organization all year long.
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