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Major League Baseball and the MLB Players Association have agreed to issue 45 days of termination pay to those players on non-guaranteed contracts who do not make their team’s 40-man roster, USA Today’s Bob Nightengale reports (Twitter link).  The dollar amount of this payment is yet unknown, though it still represents a positive step taken by the league to support the players who might be affected most by baseball’s shutdown.  Teams will have until the day before the beginning of the season to finalize those roster decisions.

Under normal circumstances, we would be approaching the five-day deadline prior to the original March 26th Opening Day for teams to decide on options for Article XX(B) free agents, who make up a big portion of the list of players on non-guaranteed deals.  Even since the shutdown, we’ve seen a few cases of teams selecting such players (i.e. the Blue Jays and Joe Panik) to their 40-man rosters in order to lock in their contracts for the 2020 season, since the clubs had already decided these players were going to make the team, and making that status official undoubtedly represented peace of mind for both the club and the player.

More from around the baseball world…

  • While the league and the MLBPA continue to work out many matters related to the delayed season, minor league players (many of whom aren’t union members since they have yet to reach the big leagues) have no such organized voice on their behalf.  Perhaps a first step towards finding such a voice is Advocates For Minor Leaguers, a non-profit advocacy group whose creation was announced on Friday, Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch writes.  Former Mets and Phillies utilityman Ty Kelly is one of the group’s founders, and described to Goold some of the issues facing the big majority of minor league players in the wake of the shutdown: “Guys are just trying to figure out where to live for the foreseeable future, how they’re going to pay for wherever they’re living.  Not everybody is able to go home and just bunk up with their parents for a month or two.  A lot of guys are in no man’s land and are trying to figure out what’s going to happen.  It’s not an easy time for anyone who is trying to find work right now.”  Beyond the challenges presented during this unique situation, Advocates For Minor Leaguers is also looking to address bigger-picture issues facing minor league players, with an eventual goal of doubling their annual salaries (to $15K).
  • If and when a starting date for the 2020 season is determined, baseball may face a political obstacle in facilitating the beginning of the season.  As Jorge Castillo of the Los Angeles Times explores, foreign players who have returned home during the shutdown may have trouble re-entering the United States if international travel remains restricted. Although players have been advised to remain in the continental U.S. during the delay, many Latin players have opted to return to their native country (especially minor leaguers, who weren’t being paid until MLB announced on Thursday that it would support MiLBers through April 8).  By and large, the spread of the coronavirus has only just begun to ramp up in Latin America, and countries are taking varied approaches in their efforts to limit the virus’s spread.

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