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Drayer: Mariners to pay minor league players for the rest of 2020

Mariners minor leaguers will be paid for the rest of 2020. (Getty)

As uncertain as things have been for the Mariners and big league ballplayers in recent weeks, they have been even more so for the minor leaguers. While MLB and the MLBPA have traded volleys in an attempt to bring baseball back in July, minor leaguers have had no say, no input into whether or not they play again this year.

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In the past 10 days, we have seen a handful of teams release dozens of their minor league players with Baseball America saying they expect to hear about many more next week as the transactions are filed with the league. On Tuesday came the news that the A’s would no longer pay their minor leaguers who remain under contract and, unless an adjustment is made, will not be eligible for unemployment. On Wednesday the Mariners released a number of their minor leaguers, but those who remained received the news that they would be paid for the remainder of the season.

“We did inform our minor league players yesterday that they would continue to receive their stipend through the end of the season,” said Mariners general manager Jerry Dipoto on his weekly show on 710 ESPN Seattle’s Danny and Gallant. “It’s important to us with our young minor leaguers, we can’t abandon them in our hour of most need. These are our most valuable assets our young players who are coming through our system and project a greater future and they are the most vulnerable right now and we need to take care of them and thankfully we work for an organization that feels the same way.”

Minor leaguers – who under normal circumstances are only paid for the months games are scheduled – across baseball have been receiving a $400 a week stipend since shortly after the shutdown in an arrangement that was only promised through May. The Rangers, Braves, White Sox and Diamondbacks have agreed to continue paying their minor leaguers through June with the Padres and Marlins promising their players paychecks through August.

The moves made by the Mariners Wednesday were not limited to the minor league players. Like most clubs in baseball, the Mariners had pledged to pay their employees through May. Two weeks ago, nearly 60 employees earning $60,000 or more who fall under the Uniform Employee Contract status were notified they would see their salaries reduced a minimum of 20 percent beginning June 1. Shortly after, employees across the organization were told that with the loss of games and the revenue that comes with them, pay cuts, furloughs and layoffs could be expected. On Wednesday, those moves were made with dozens of employees impacted.

Similar moves have been made by a number of teams including the A’s, Angels, Rays and Brewers while some organizations have pledged to pay their employees through September. With or without a season, more pay cuts, furloughs or layoffs are expected across the league.

Follow 710 ESPN Seattle Mariners insider Shannon Drayer on Twitter.

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