Toronto Blue Jays: Decision to extend Minor League pay comes at a price

While the Toronto Blue Jays have made the decision to extend the pay period for their minor league players, it has come at a regrettable cost.

As with every professional sports team, the Toronto Blue Jays continue to face numerous challenges during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. This has led to fear and uncertainty on the part of a lot of players within the organisation.

At the weekend, the Blue Jays did their bit to alleviate at least some of the concerns for the players. As reported by TSN, the team has extended pay for their minor leaguers through the end of June.

When the pandemic originally impacted the start of the MLB and MILB seasons, the league announced that all players not on a 40-man roster would be paid $400 per week through the end of May. In this respect, the Jays have at least taken a step to help minor leaguers by extending this pay period by another month.

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The decision has come at a cost however, both figuratively and literally. As reported by Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet, 29 prospects have been released from the farm system in recent days.

Some will make the argument that minor leaguers not deemed good enough for the club would have been released regardless. However, there is no doubt the number of players let go has been impacted by the lost revenue from cancelled games.

Further, the 2020 Major League Baseball season should take place at some point. (Theoretically at least anyway, when considering the current standoff between the league and the players.) However, there is nothing to indicate the same will be true of the MILB season.

As such, the reality is that a lot of uncertainty remains for Minor League players. In a normal year they would be paid for five months, from April to August.

In this respect, the Blue Jays would do well to follow the lead of other ball clubs. For example, the Seattle Mariners confirmed last Wednesday that they will pay their Minor League players through the end of August.

It has been interesting to see some of the contrasting moves around the league. One of the main examples of this comes in the actions of the Oakland Athletics and former Blue Jays’ pitcher David Price.

As per Nicholson-Smith, the Athletics have announced they will no longer pay minor leaguers the weekly $400 stipend. However, as reported by David Morassutti for Sportsnet, Price has pledged to donate $1,000 to all 220 minor-league players not on the team’s 40-man roster during the month of June.

Of course the five-time All-Star can easily afford to do this, with his seven-year, $217 million contract. However, it still represents a tremendous gesture from someone who did not need to do anything.

For what it’s worth, if the 2020 MILB did take place at some point, all normal salaries would be reinstated. As things stand though, it is to be hoped the Blue Jays will do the right thing and confirm they will pay their Minor League players through the end of August.

Next: Taking a closer look at the Jays' bullpen

Do you predict the Toronto Blue Jays will eventually decide to pay their minor league players through the end of August? Further, is there anything else the organization should be doing for their young prospects? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

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