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The Minnesota Twins and Kansas City Royals are reportedly planning to keep all of their minor league players on their rosters through the end of the season.
ESPN’s Jeff Passan reported Friday that the Twins have committed to continuing to pay all of their minor leaguers $400 per week along with maintaining their benefits through Aug. 31. Many MLB teams are releasing some of their minor leaguers since there will most likely be no minor league season in 2020 amid the coronavirus pandemic, but Passan noted the Twins also intend to keep all of their players.
MLB Network’s Jon Heyman reported the Royals plan to do the same.
With regard to the Royals’ decision to retain and pay their minor leaguers, Heyman tweeted the following quote from someone close to the organization: “Haven’t had any (minors releases) and won’t through the the summer!!!”
Alex Speier of the Boston Globe reported the Boston Red Sox also plan to pay their minor league players, though some players will be cut. Bobby Nightengale of the Cincinnati Enquirer, Brian McTaggart of MLB.com and Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet reported the Cincinnati Reds, Houston Astros and Atlanta Braves plan to follow suit with payment.
Per Passan, “hundreds” of minor league players were cut Thursday, and “hundreds more” are expected to be released in the near future.
Passan reported that team officials said the “vast majority” of the players who have been released likely would have gotten cut at the end of spring training even if the season was not impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Major League Baseball owners and players continue to negotiate financials so that an official plan can be put in place to begin the 2020 season. The season never officially started because of the coronavirus, and it will likely be at least cut in half if and when it does begin.
Minor League Baseball President Pat O’Conner hasn’t made an official announcement regarding whether minor league baseball will be played in 2020, but it is widely expected that there will be no minor league season regardless of what happens with the MLB campaign.