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Rays extend pay to minor-leaguers through at least July

This is the second time the team has opted to keep providing the $400 weekly stipend to players idled during the shutdown.
Shortstop Wander Franco, the Rays' minor-league player of the year, left, runs the gauntlet of the organization's award winners during a pregame ceremony before the Rays played the Red Sox on Sept. 23, 2019, at Tropicana Field.
Shortstop Wander Franco, the Rays' minor-league player of the year, left, runs the gauntlet of the organization's award winners during a pregame ceremony before the Rays played the Red Sox on Sept. 23, 2019, at Tropicana Field. [ DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD | Tampa Bay Times ]
Published Jun. 27, 2020

ST. PETERSBURG — The Rays will continue to pay their minor-leaguers a $400 weekly stipend at least through the end of July.

Around 200 players were informed Saturday that they will continue to receive the money to help cover living expenses as they remain idled since being sent home from spring training in mid-March due to the coronavirus shutdown.

This the second time the Rays made the decision to extend the payments to the players not on their 40-man roster, initially through June 30. Several players said at the time of the last extension how appreciative they were and that doing so said a lot about their bosses and the organization. The Rays will decide by the end of July whether to extend the payments again, as the minor-league season was to end Sept. 7.

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After the shutdown, Major League Baseball directed teams to make the payments through April 8 (the day before the minor-league season was to start), then extended the program through May 31, with any decisions beyond that up to the teams.

Most did as the Rays and extended the payments.

The Oakland A’s initially said they would not keep paying, but after more than a week of extensive negative reaction, they changed plans and made the payments retroactively, and through the end of August. The World Series champion Nationals sought to reduce the payments from $400 to $300, but after their major-league players said they would chip in and pay the difference, team officials reversed that decision.

The Rays are also inviting a number of their minor-league prospects to be part of the 60-man player pool for the upcoming season, with Spring 2.0 camps opening this week and the first workout on Friday. Those players will get paid their minor-league salaries.