The All-Star left-hander will pay each minor league player who is not on the Dodgers’ 40-man roster $1,000 for the month of June, sources confirmed to ESPN. The remarkable act of generosity will impact just over 200 people facing unprecedented difficulty.
The development was first reported by Francys Romero.
The Dodgers had already committed to continuing their $400-a-week payments to minor league players — domestic as well as those training out of the team’s academy in the Dominican Republic — through the month of June, but the Oakland Athletics recently decided to cease those payments at the end of this week and other teams might soon follow suit.
Minor League Baseball is unlikely to take place in 2020 and upwards of 1,000 minor league players could end up getting released over the coming days. Most of those cuts would’ve taken place at the end of spring training had the coronavirus pandemic not shut down sports in the middle of March, but the strong likelihood of a reduced draft and fewer affiliates in 2021 and beyond puts minor league players in an especially precarious situation.
Most minor league players earn below minimum wage and are not protected by the Major League Baseball Players Association, which is engaged in a contentious negotiation with MLB over compensation for what will at most be a significantly shortened season in 2020. Players were previously given an advance of $170 million for April and May and won’t receive any more than that if the season is cancelled.
Price, the No. 1 overall pick out of Vanderbilt in 2007, joined the Dodgers alongside Mookie Betts in a five-player deal with the Boston Red Sox on Feb. 10. If baseball is played this summer, the former Cy Young Award winner and five-time All-Star will enter the fifth season of a seven-year, $217 million contract he signed in December of 2015.