John J. Fisher, the owner of the Oakland A’s, emerged to send an e-mail explaining the refusal to pay minor leaguers. The words ring hollow.
On Tuesday, the Oakland A’s made a decision that did not sit well with their players or fanbase. They decided to no longer pay the $400 per week stipend to their minor leaguers, with cries of poverty being the explanation. On June 1, that paycheck will disappear.
Naturally, the A’s minor leaguers have ripped this decision. Minor leaguer Zach Erwin tweeted his own financial situation, where over a 19 month period, he will make all of $5600. That includes the stimulus check that he qualified for. Other players are in a similar situation, wondering how they will be able to make ends meet now that they have lost their paycheck.
For his part, A’s owner John J. Fisher emerged from behind the curtain, likely due to the backlash the organization has faced. He called the cuts “painful” and said that the players are “family” to the organization. But, in the next breath, he cited financial reasons for the cuts, a hollow excuse for someone worth $2.1 billion.
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This is something that players will remember. Those draft picks may be more difficult to sign now, knowing that they need to get their money up front in the event that something happens to shut down the game again. They know that they cannot rely upon the A’s to have their back during those times.
Likewise, those minor league free agents looking for an opportunity? Yes, the A’s may be more likely to provide playing time due to their desire to lower the budget, but moves like this will leave a lasting impression. Those players may want more to sign with the A’s than another team, such as the Padres and Marlins, who have committed to paying their minor leaguers through the end of August.
Every decision causes a reaction, especially in times like these. Players remember how they were treated by an organization, or how other players were treated. After this decision, those players may not be falling over themselves to join the A’s. Yes, a few bucks were saved, but at what future cost?
The Oakland A’s have managed to minimize their losses as best as they can during the pandemic. They may win in the short term, but the long term battle may now be lost.