Hundreds of Minor League Baseball players were cut Thursday due to the financial strain the coronavirus pandemic has placed on Major League organizations, according to a report from ESPN’s Jeff Passan.
Several hundred more players will be released over the next week, resulting in over 1,000 players out of work, according to the report.
The Washington Nationals – the parent organization of the Fresno Grizzlies – were one of the teams that reportedly released players.
Fresno Grizzlies spokesman Stephen Rice told The Sun that the Grizzlies organization does not know if any players that were slated to play for the team this season have been cut.
“We will have baseball back at some point, and we hope that these guys continue to grind it out and hopefully will get a chance at the big leagues at some point in their careers,” Rice said.
“We just hope that any guy that could have been a Grizzly this year that was on a cut list, that they’re going to make it through this, that hopefully their families are staying safe, and they will get back on their feet at some point.”
On March 31, MLB announced that minor league players would receive a $400 weekly stipend in the absence of games through at least May.
While most organizations have committed to continuing the stipends through at least the end of June, the Oakland A’s reportedly will stop the payments on May 31.
Rice said the Nationals will continue to pay its minor league players at least through June. The Nationals organization has started furloughing some employees, and executives have taken pay cuts. The Grizzlies have not furloughed any employees, Rice said.
In years past, a suspension of an entire season would place the Grizzlies in a precarious – if not disastrous – position with its rent obligations to the City of Fresno.
Those concerns were largely allayed when a new ownership group, led by managing partner Michael Baker, took the helm of the Triple-A franchise.
City of Fresno spokesman Mark Standriff said that the team was current on its rent for Chukchansi Park.