Los Angeles Angels employees in the Dominican Republic were informed the club would no longer pay for their services last month as Major League Baseball owners continue to find ways to cut costs with the 2020 season on hold.
Now those employees are being paid again—but not by the team. Instead veteran first baseman Albert Pujols stepped up to foot the bill for the furloughed staffers. Pujols will cover the $180,000 they were supposed to receive, according to Maria Torres of the Los Angeles Times.
The Angels made headlines for being one of the most aggressive clubs when it came to cutting costs during the pandemic.
In addition to the Dominican Republic employees, the team furloughed 17 area scouts as well as the majority of the player development and minor league staff, per Fabian Ardaya of The Athletic.
Pujols decided to take care of as many of the staffers in his native country as he could. As Torres notes, there is no timeline for the resumption of activities or a sense of when the furloughs will end.
Major League Baseball continues to negotiate with the MLB Players Association on a deal to begin an abbreviated 2020 season, yet the sides haven’t come close to reaching a deal as of Thursday.
Pujols wasn’t going to sit by and wait for the two sides to work out it. According to Torres, he asked general manager Billy Eppler how much it would cost to covers the salaries of employees in the D.R. and quickly worked to get money flowing to them again.
The 40-year-old earned $28 million last year and has two seasons left on a 10-year, $240 million deal with the American League West club.
In the meantime, the team has set up a $1 million employee assistance fund to aid those who currently lost their jobs or were furloughed because of the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on baseball.