SEATTLE -- While the status of the upcoming season remains up in the air, the Mariners moved Wednesday to assure their Minor League players they will be paid through the end of August, according to a source.
The Mariners did release a small group of players, but they sent letters to the remainder of their non-40-man roster players saying that they would retain their $400 weekly stipend through what would be the end of the normal Minor League season.
While the Major League season could potentially get started in July if a settlement is reached with the MLB Players Association, there is no indication that any of the Minor Leagues will begin play during the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic that has shuttered the game since mid-March.
The Minor Leaguers who were released were primarily part of the normal annual turnover that occurs at the end of Spring Training and around the time of the June Draft, according to the source.
The Mariners did make some adjustments in their front-office departments on Wednesday, with numerous employees taking pay cuts and a smaller number being furloughed or laid off.
Affected departments include ballpark operations, finance, marketing and communications, ticketing and sales and legal and human resources. Every department was impacted by the cutbacks, according to a source, with some affected more than others depending on how much their work has to do with whether games are played, as well as the possibility that games could be played without fans should a settlement be reached.
Furloughed employees will continue to receive benefits and will likely return to work should games resume this year.
The club had previously assured all of its staffers who are under Uniform Employee Contracts that there would be no layoffs or furloughs through Oct. 31, though that group also took pay cuts for all those earning $60,000 or more a year.
Uniform Employee Contracts (UEC) primarily covers Major and Minor League managers, coaches and trainers, as well as high-performance staff and professional and amateur scouts. UEC staffers are under contract each year through the end of the playing season on Oct. 31.
The latest news affects staffers who are not under UEC contracts.