The Price is right in a way you have no idea! Minor league is in shambles!

A minor league batting cage; Jayson Werth #44 is in the cage; Trea Turner #27 awaits his turn; Mark Scialabba; Director, Minor League Operations observes; Photo by Andrew Lang for TalkNats

If you have been away from baseball for awhile, the situation in Minor League baseball is deteriorating quickly during this COVID-19 crisis. The players at the bottom of the food chain who were not high draft picks, with large signing bonuses to fall back on, are struggling worse than ever.

All teams had been paying their minor leaguers who were not on the 40-man roster a sum of $400 per week. In some cases after making a car payment, insurance, and rent, there was no money for food. But yesterday news broke that hundreds of minor leaguers were cut, and earlier in the week it was reported that the Oakland A’s were no longer going to pay their minor leaguers the $400 after Sunday. In a show of support, David Price who is new with the Dodgers stepped in. He finally had enough of it and has vowed to pay every minor leaguer in his Dodgers organization $1,000 for the month of June. 

Not only are some minor leaguers in financial ruin, they are living far below the poverty line as their pay would cease anyway at August 31 when the Minor League season was set to end. Their player development has also come to a screeching halt.

In a game with billions of dollars in play, it would not even take $1 million to fund the $400 a player for minor leaguers on one team through August 31st. Most teams pissed more money than that away in DFAs since the end of the 2019 season.

On top of that, the high school and college amateurs who were draft eligible will see many of their hopes and dreams altered due to the new rules from the revised 2020 draft. ESPN’s Jeff Passan and Kiley McDaniel  reported that Major League Baseball revised the number of rounds to five in total from the usual 40 rounds, and much of the payments for signing bonuses will be deferred. As JJ Cooper of Baseball America noted, last year the MLB draft had 1,217 players in total selected versus only 160 players this year based on the 150 picks over five rounds plus ten comp picks (for example a QO draft comp pick for Anthony Rendon) and any supplemental picks.

For draft signing bonuses, those will be the same as they were from 2019: the first pick is slotted at $8,415,300. The last pick — the 160th overall — is $324,100. However, the bulk of the bonuses will be deferred. According to Ken Rosenthal, teams will pay draftees a maximum of $100,000 in 2020, with 50 percent of the remainder coming on July 1, 2021 and the other 50 percent on July 1, 2022. They can sign undrafted free agents at $5,000 maximum. Last year a 10th round selected player was slotted at over $142,000. This year, $5,000 max!

Are there any other angels out there like David Price who can at least buy some meals for these starving players?

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