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Source: Bucs to pay MiLB players through June

@adamdberry
May 30, 2020

PITTSBURGH -- The Pirates have committed to paying their Minor League players through at least the month of June, a source told MLB.com on Saturday. On March 31, Major League Baseball announced a plan to provide financial support for Minor Leaguers through May 31 or the start of the Minor

PITTSBURGH -- The Pirates have committed to paying their Minor League players through at least the month of June, a source told MLB.com on Saturday.

On March 31, Major League Baseball announced a plan to provide financial support for Minor Leaguers through May 31 or the start of the Minor League season. With that deadline looming on Sunday, clubs have had to choose independently whether to continue paying players who aren’t on their 40-man rosters.

Joining the majority of Major League teams, the Pirates decided to keep paying weekly stipends of $400 to their Minor Leaguers through at least June 30 while the status of the Minor League season remains uncertain due to the coronavirus pandemic. The club will also continue to provide healthcare coverage for those players for at least the next month.

The Pirates have more than 300 players in their Minor League system, more than most teams, as they are affiliated with two Rookie-level teams and two Dominican Summer League clubs. The organization has affiliates in Indianapolis (Triple-A), Altoona (Double-A), Bradenton (Class A Advanced), Greensboro (Class A) and West Virginia (Class A Short Season) along with its four Rookie-level teams: Bristol, the Gulf Coast League Pirates and two Dominican Summer League Pirates teams.

Many teams have cut Minor League players in recent days, transactions that usually take place between the end of Spring Training and the MLB Draft, but the Pirates have not yet released any of their players. Club officials are currently assessing their Minor League personnel, according to a source, but they have not made any definitive decisions.

Last week, Pirates president Travis Williams announced the club’s decision to institute temporary furloughs for some employees on their business operations staff, citing the lack of ticket revenue, revenue sharing and media/sponsorship revenue resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. Those furloughs begin Monday, as do pay reductions for many business and baseball operations employees. The club’s executive staff previously committed to voluntary pay cuts for the rest of the calendar year.

The Pirates will cover medical, dental and vision benefits for furloughed staff and their families and assist them to secure unemployment benefits. Nobody on Ben Cherington’s baseball operations staff has been furloughed.

“We care deeply about all of our employees and understand the impact this will have on them,” Williams said in a statement on May 21. “These decisions are very difficult, but are necessary for us to endure this crisis and emerge as strong as possible when we are able to resume normal operations. We look forward to welcoming our employees back to work at that time.”

Adam Berry has covered the Pirates for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook and read his blog.