MLB, Washington Nationals

Washington Nationals change course on minor league cuts

The Washington Nationals announced on Monday they will pay minor league players at least through June, reversing a previous decision.

On Sunday, following similar actions across the league, The Athletic learned that the Washington Nationals would be cutting dozens of minor league players and would reduce the remaining players’ weekly stipend from $400 a week to $300 a week.

That was unacceptable to the team’s major league players. So, according to pitcher Sean Doolittle, the players assembled over Zoom and committed to using their own money to make up the players lost wages.

“All of us were minor leaguers at one point in our careers,” Doolittle wrote on Twitter. “We know how important the weekly stipends are for them and their families during these uncertain times.”

The announcement from the club’s major league players was commendable, although pretty much everyone agreed that it should be unnecessary when club owner Ted Lerner is a billionaire. In fact, the club received enough backlash on social media that on Monday, the club said that it would be reversing their decision.

This decision only covers payments through June. The internal memo that circulated through the club, obtained by The Athletic, says that further payment decisions will be considered “on a month-to-month basis.”

The Washington Nationals aren’t the only club drawing attention over minor league cuts and salaries. The Oakland A’s were heavily criticized when they announced that they would not continue to pay minor league players. The Kansas City Royals are on the other end of the spectrum, stating that there will be no layoffs, furloughs, or pay cuts. No minor league players will be cut and they will continue to be paid their stipends for the full season.

“Minor leaguers are an essential part of our organization and they are bearing the heaviest burden of this situation as their season is likely to be cancelled,” Doolittle said on Twitter. “We recognize that and want to stand with them and show our support.”

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