When the Oakland A’s decided to stop paying their minor leaguers, it was expected that other teams would follow suit. Well, we’re still waiting.
Just a week ago, the Oakland A’s announced that they would no longer be paying their minor league players the weekly $400 salary they had been receiving. This was a move designed to save money, with the franchise crying poverty. However, the A’s were not releasing any of those players so they could find other opportunities to earn a living – they would remain with the organization, unpaid and unable to collect unemployment.
When the A’s took the leap to stop paying their minor leaguers, it was expected that other smaller market teams would follow that example. Teams continued to release minor league players, downsizing their organization, but the stoppage of payment had yet to happen. And we’re still waiting.
Even with those players being cut, and questions about whether or not the season will occur in any way this year, the other teams are still paying the players they have. Even the Nationals, who had slashed those payments by 25%, reversed course after a great deal of backlash. The A’s remain the only team to have taken that step.
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That decision was a public relations nightmare in the first place. With a 17% unemployment rate nationwide, watching a person worth $2.1 billion gripe that he could not afford to pay minor league players a weekly stipend did not go over well. The players were also, and understandably, furious, worried that their careers would suffer.
While the A’s are refusing to pay, nine teams have agreed to pay their players through the end of August. The Royals and Twins, two teams that will never be mistaken for large market franchises, vowed to keep all their players. The Reds took the payments a step further, saying their players would be paid until the end of the year.
As it was, the A’s should have been ashamed of their decision. They have become the poster children for what is wrong in baseball, where the greed and shortsightedness of ownership are ruining the game we all love. And in the A’s case, it could impact their direct future.
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The Oakland A’s are still the only team that is not paying their minor league players. That decision looks even more disgraceful with every passing day.