The Nationals drew pointed criticism yesterday after cutting the weekly stipend for their minor leaguers from $400 to $300 and even evoked a prompt response from their active roster. Left-hander Sean Doolittle and several other Nats veterans met “within hours” of the news, Doolittle tweets, quickly agreeing to cover the difference and ensure that minor leaguers would be paid their full stipend.
“All of us were minor leaguers at one point in our careers and we know how important the weekly stipends are for them and their families during these uncertain times,” Doolittle wrote. “Minor leaguers are an essential part of our organization and they are bearing the heaviest burden of this situation as their season is likely to be cancelled. We recognize that and want to stand with them and show our support.”
The wave of negative backlash has clearly altered ownership’s thinking, as Grant Paulsen of 106.7 The Fan now reports that the Lerner family today sent a memo to minor leaguers informing them that they will continue to receive the full weekly stipend (Twitter link).
It’s a rather embarrassing about-face for the Lerner family. The decision to slash the weekly stipend, after all, would likely have saved in the vicinity of $80-90K in the first place. As Britt Ghiroli and Emily Waldon of The Athletic pointed out, no other team in the league has opted to reduce that weekly amount. (The Athletics, though, opted to halt the stipend entirely.) It’s not clear how the organization plans to continue beyond the month of June, although it’s easy to imagine ownership being particularly wary of bad P.R. following this situation — particularly given how poorly it was received even among their own big leaguers.
Nats lefty Patrick Corbin retweeted The Athletic’s original story on the decision and also retweeted Keith Law’s observation that owner Mark Lerner’s net worth is estimated at $5.3 billion. Yan Gomes retweeted Doolittle’s speech and added the message: “Stand together!” Max Scherzer, Trea Turner and others also retweeted Doolittle’s message — one that resonated with other young players throughout the league. Rays minor leaguer Shane McClanahan (link) and young Indians southpaw Logan Allen (link) both tweeted that they hoped to someday be in position to make similar gestures. Of course, most would argue that players should never be in the position to have to step in like this in the first place.
While the Nats’ current minor leaguers are surely breathing a sigh of some relief, the organization also cut several minor leaguers over the past week — as has been the case with most other teams. (The Royals and Twins stand as notable exceptions.) Ghiroli and Waldon have the full list of 40 minor leaguers who were cut loose by the Nats (subscription required) — a group that includes former big leaguers Mac Williamson, JB Shuck, Allen Webster and Luis Sardinas.
Superstar Car Wash
Tim, can you start WWE Rumors? Baseball is done for good. Let’s talk about The Undertaker.
baseball will be back by next April at the latest.
The undertaker has to be pushing 70. He should probably continue to shelter in place.
The undertaker is NOT pushing 70. He has to be early to mid 50s.
You’re right, he is 55. His documentary is as good as the Last Dance
Watchoo talkin’ ’bout Willis?
They been singing about the Undertaker since the circle was unbroken
dont agree with everything Doodlittle has done, but hard to argue he isnt a great person.
Doolittle has made over $17Million in his career prior to 2020. I didn’t see him make any effort to help cover that $80,000 pocket change. Scherzer, Corbin ,Gomes…. “stand together”, but don’t make any offer to help pay that $100 a day.
That’s exactly what they did.
I realize owners stand to lose a lot of money, but cutting already-dismal minor league pay is not only mean-spirited but also a very small part of an MLB team’s cost stack. An owner who “has” to cut MiLB pay is either lying or too close to running out of funds to own such a large business.
His worth is estimated @5 billion.
Like a lot of wealthy Americans, I’d say a significant chunk of that value is paper value – who knows how much of it is liquid. A lot of big business is just shuffling deck chairs and burning cashflow.
In saying that, the money he was going to save would still be a drop in the water!
and i dont care what and why the Nats reversed course here, but it took guts to accept defeat and do the right thing. the end is the same here so it shouldn’t matter too much.
But it also means the reason they were cutting $100/week wasn’t important enough in the first place to maintain the conviction of their decision, which is even worse in my eyes. Makes their players look even more disposable considering that money could easily determine where they eat or sleep considering that’s 25% of their minuscule monthly income.
Certainly a bad timed move with the negotiations about starting up baseball going on at the same time
Now to get that scumbag John Fisher to pay the A’s minor leaguers.
I’m glad Mark Lerner found that extra $80k under his sofa cushions. Now he can pay his minor league players. Huzzah!
Another point of proof that ownership CANNOT be trusted.
Pulled the ol’ switcheroo.
and still some of you out there support the owners????? When will you learn, they could care less about any player, it’s all just dollars and cents to them.
There is a difference between siding with the owners and seeing both sides of the negotiations. The players [as I have said thousands of times before here and at MLB] got the way they are in negotiations because of a century of exploitation by the owners. But that doesn’t’ make them any more or less right now..
As for rooting for the owners… I root for baseball!
I understand the owners arguing for more pay cuts if their revenues are being cut. I don’t agree with it, but I at least see their point and it’s a worthwhile discussion because hundreds of millions are potentially on the line. Cutting this for less than $100K savings? This is like a conglomerate slashing headcount by 50% and then also switching to slightly cheaper toilet paper.
Problem is you actually dont understand the owners, or you think they act with any level of morality, they do not. They literally should go poor paying the players, or else do not own a team, they did this to themselves.
Lost all that goodwill with their current and future players (who will decline extensions) AND didn’t save a buck.
Bad look to save $100 per week on each minor leaguer
Doolittle is out to lunch! 5 cent head, and I’m a Nats fan
SeniorEditor, support the owners? Are you joking?! Which of these 2 groups of zillionaire d-bags is likeable enough for anyone to support? Both sides are currently taking a “ME ME ME” posture. They’re absolutely clueless that the nation is getting hammered by record unemployment, layoffs, furloughs, pay cuts, etc.” Oh, and race riots too. If this season is cancelled only an abject blind ass fool thinks one of these sides is going to NOT be hated by fans. Who the hell wants to “support” either of them. It would be like trying to pick which of 2 stinkin ugly dogs is uglier than the other.
Let’s be clear, the Nationals agreed to pay these minor leaguers $400 a week though June only. We might have the same issue in a few weeks.
The Lerners wont make the same PR mistake. Next time it wont be a cut of $100 a week, it will be the whole enchilada. And if they dont play this season, they will use a hatchet instead of a knife.
I think the Jury is still out on what the next plan (C, D ir whatever we’re on now).
I really don’t see baseball missing this season despite the apparent unresolved issues. But if that is incorrect I would bet the players and owners would have to share the burden. With the CBA negotiations coming up as well, a no play season would likely be folded right into the 21 and beyond collective bargaining agreement