After facing major revenue losses due to the ongoing pandemic, the Oakland A’s are expected to lay off upwards of 150 employees.
As one had to expect with a Major League Baseball season that did not have any fans in the seats, the league faced unprecedented losses. According to commissioner Rob Manfred, the 30 MLB teams amassed $8.3 billion in debt, and will post nearly $3 billion in operational losses. Those numbers will make a difference when it comes to free agency.
It will also affect the structure of the team’s front office and employees. The Oakland A’s had originally furloughed approximately 150 employees due to the pandemic. On Friday, the A’s announced that the majority of those employees would be laid off.
In the A’s case, most of those layoffs will be on the business side. With uncertainty about whether or not fans will be allowed in the stands, or if the season will start on time, it makes sense that the A’s would look to save costs in the marketing and ticket sales departments.
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But these announcements also set a tone heading into free agency. MLB is essentially setting the stage for a slow offseason, telling the players that the money they would normally expect simply is not there. There could be a plethora of shorter term contracts, or players signing late, as there had been a couple of years ago.
This also sets up what could be a quiet offseason for the A’s. Normally, there would be a flurry of activity, given that they have ten impending free agents. Even if they did not spend much, the A’s would still need to find replacements for those players. Internal options will help the budget, but that will not solve every problem.
Maybe this financial landscape helps Oakland. Maybe, with so many teams looking at a rough financial picture, they will be able to land some bargains that otherwise would not be available. However, it is far more likely that the A’s do almost nothing now that they have an excuse.
The Oakland A’s are laying off the majority of their furloughed employees. That could be the start of a long offseason.