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Rays to help out minor-leaguers with $400 a week stipend

Major League Baseball announced plans for teams to help their minor-league players, who are also idled.
There are no workouts or games scheduled any time soon for major- or minor-league baseball players. [OCTAVIO JONES  |  Times]
There are no workouts or games scheduled any time soon for major- or minor-league baseball players. [OCTAVIO JONES | Times]

ST. PETERSBURG — The Rays are lending what seems to be a big hand to their minor-league players, extending a $400 weekly stipend through the originally scheduled April 8 end of spring training.

The $57 a day should provide some relief to the 175 or so minor-league players who also were idled by the coronavirus pandemic and sent home from Port Charlotte last weekend. The Rays have also told players they will provide some compensation for their travel home and leases in their minor-league cities.

Major League Baseball announced Thursday that all 30 teams agreed to participate in “a league-wide initiative that will create a level of uniform compensation” for the players, based on “a lump sum equal to the allowances that would have been paid through April 8.” Some teams, per online reports, are paying only $25 a day.

With the minor-league season, which was to start April 9 also delayed indefinitely, Major League Baseball also said it asked teams “to identify additional ways to support those players as a result of the delayed 2020 season” and seeks “development of an industry-wide plan for minor-league player compensation from April 9 through the beginning of the coming season.”

The Rays are still providing most of the players in major-league camp with their $195 a day per diem expense money.

Here is the full text of the league release:

Since last week, Major League Baseball has been engaged in a variety of discussions with stakeholders to identify ways to blunt the wide-ranging impact of the national emergency resulting from the global coronavirus pandemic. As those conversations continue, MLB is announcing today a league-wide initiative that will create a level of uniform compensation for Minor League players, covering the period between now and the originally scheduled start of the minor league season. MLB is taking this initial step today because of the effects of the season’s postponement on Minor League players and their families. MLB intends to continue working with all 30 Clubs to identify additional ways to support those players as a result of the delayed 2020 season.

Each player who is under a Minor League Uniform Player Contract will receive a lump sum equal to the allowances that would have been paid through April 8th. The exceptions to this plan are non-40-man-roster players who are already receiving Major League allowances; players who are currently receiving housing, food or other services from Clubs; and players who were not participating in, or expected to participate in, Minor League Spring Training. MLB remains in communication with Clubs on the development of an industry-wide plan for Minor League player compensation from April 9th through the beginning of the coming season.

MLB takes the community impact of this crisis seriously. We will continue to monitor ongoing events and undertake the precautions and best practices recommended by public health experts to protect fans, players and ballpark workers, and we urge all baseball fans to follow suit. MLB extends its best wishes to all the individuals and communities who have been impacted by the coronavirus.

In the last several days, MLB has announced a joint, $1M MLB-MLBPA fund to speed food assistance to those impacted by the crisis and a 30-Club, $30M effort to support ballpark workers. Individual Clubs will continue to announce more details surrounding support for their local communities and players are coming together to urge fans to take this crisis seriously.

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