While there is still uncertainty surrounding the Major and Minor League seasons, the Rays became the latest team to commit to paying their Minor Leaguers through at least the end of June, a source told MLB.com on Wednesday.
The Rays sent out an email to non-40-man roster players on Wednesday, notifying them that they were going to receive the $400 weekly stipend and that the club will continue to assess the situation on a month-to-month basis.
As Major League Baseball and the Players Association continue their negotiations for a big league season, there is still no indication that any of the Minor Leagues will begin play due to the coronavirus pandemic. Aside from paying the players, the expectation is that the organization will also continue to pay the coaches and staff members in the Minors, though that will also be reviewed at the end of each month.
Tampa Bay did, however, release about 20 players from the organization on Wednesday. A source told MLB.com that the decision to release that amount of players is not unusual on a yearly basis, but that it’s usually done between the end of Spring Training and before the June Draft. It’s unclear who the players are, but they’re all believed to be in the lower ranks of the Rays’ organization. Other teams are also expected to do the same.
As for the Major League club, the Rays will host their third voluntary workout at Tropicana Field on Friday. In the first two workouts, the Rays have taken advantage of the time to get some cardio and plyometric workouts in. The groups have been scattered throughout the morning in order to comply with CDC guidelines.
Much like Monday and Wednesday, Friday’s workout will consist of running, playing catch and light weight lifting on the field.
The clubhouse, weight room and other common areas remain closed. Hitting is still not allowed for batters, and the bullpen mounds are still off limits for the pitchers. If the Rays get approval and some new information, the players could possibly be allowed to do more activities during the second week of voluntary workouts.