2020 Minor League Baseball Season Cancelled Due to COVID-19 Pandemic

This news does not come as a surprise, but the 2020 Minor League Baseball season has been cancelled due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic in the United States. MiLB released a statement addressing the matter earlier Tuesday evening.

 

Per league president and CEO Pat O’Connor, “This announcement removes the uncertainty surrounding the 2020 season and allows our teams to begin planning for an exciting 2021 season of affordable family entertainment.”

Because of the coronavirus pandemic, heavy financial constraints were placed on minor-league clubs across the country due to the fact their primary source of revenue comes from ticket sales.

Unlike their parent major-league clubs, minor-league affiliates do not have lucrative television or other media contracts to rely on in the absence of ticket sales and other gameday revenue, so getting through an entire season with teams playing in empty or nearly empty ballparks would have been virtually impossible.

Back in May, the Red Sox committed to paying their non-40-man-roster minor-leaguers $400 per week through the end of August, or what would have been the end of the minor-league season.

Without a minor-league season, it has been reported by Baseball America that some teams will allow their minor-leaguers to pursue opportunities in independent league baseball.

It is also worth mentioning that the Red Sox’ Triple-A affiliate, the Pawtucket Red Sox, were supposed to play their final season at McCoy Stadium this year before relocating to Worcester.

With Polar Park making progress towards its completion before the start of the 2021 minor-league season, it would seem as though the PawSox have already played their last game at McCoy, which they have called home since 1969.

On another note, the short-season affiliate of the Red Sox, the Lowell Spinners, probably won’t be affiliated with the Red Sox for that much longer, as the entire infrastructure of minor-league baseball appears to be headed towards rapid turnover. That much was made evident by this year’s amateur draft, which consisted of only five rounds to make it the shortest in MLB’s history to this point in time.

Minor-league baseball is an important aspect of the game for developing players and young fans alike. Despite that notion, the landscape of MiLB will probably never be the same beginning in 2021 if those aforementioned changed do take place.

Red Sox Will Pay Minor-League Players $400 per Week Through End of August

The Red Sox will pay their minor-league players $400 per week through the end of August, or what would have been the end of the 2020 minor-league season, according to The Boston Globe’s Alex Speier.

This news comes a day after the club released 22 minor-league players amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Minor-leaguers have been financially supported by Major League Baseball since March, but that commitment only runs through the end of May.

From there, it will be up to the major-league clubs to extend the salaries of their minor-league players, and it appears that the Red Sox are one of several teams who will be doing so beginning next month.

Per Speier, “All minor leaguers in the Red Sox system who aren’t covered by a major-league contract — meaning who aren’t on the 40-man roster — will receive the $400 weekly stipend.”

As noted by ESPN’s Jeff Passan on Thursday, up to 1,000 minor-leaguers could be released in the next week or so. The majority of these cuts were expected to be made before spring training was suspended, but it is still a tough time for the sport nonetheless, as many professional baseball careers may be coming to an end sooner than expected.

 

Red Sox Release 22 Minor-League Players Amid COVID-19 Pandemic

The Red Sox released 22 minor-league players on Thursday, per a team release.

It’s worth noting that these cuts would have likely still been made before spring training was suspended due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but with it looking more and more probable that there will be no minor-league baseball season at all in 2020, it’s very likely the minor-leaguers who were released on Thursday’s may have just seen their professional baseball careers come to a close.

The 22 players released by the Red Sox include 10 pitchers, three catchers, five infielders, and four outfielders:

Right-handed pitchers: Matthew Gorst, Dylan Thompson, Robbie Baker, Chris Machamer, Connor Berry, Eddie Jimenez, Zach Schneider and Mason Duke.

Left-handed pitchers: Alex Demchak and Kelvin Sanchez.

Catchers: Joe DeCarlo, Samuel Miranda, and Breiner Licona.

Infielders: Nick Lovullo, Juremi Profar, Korby Batesole, Andre Colon, and Nilo Rijo.

Outfielders: Edgar Corcino, Keith Curcio, Trenton Kemp, and Marino Campana.

Among the notable cuts are Nick Lovullo, son of former Red Sox bench coach and current Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo, and Juremi Profar, the younger brother of Padres infielder Jurickson Profar.

Lovullo, who turned 26 last December, was drafted by Boston in the 20th round of the 2016 amateur draft out of Holy Cross in Worcester. He played 79 games across three minor-league levels last season.

Profar, meanwhile, signed a minor-league deal with Boston back in November after previously spending time in the Rangers farm system.

These cuts come at a time where hundreds, if not thousands of minor-leaguers are losing their jobs all across baseball as clubs continue to cut costs due to the ongoing pandemic.

This is just an assumption, but I think it’s fair to say that what goes down in minor-league baseball this week is a precursor for what’s to come in 2021 and/or 2022. To put it simply, the infrastructure of minor-league baseball as we know it will soon be changing in drastic fashion.

#RedSox and Portland Sea Dogs Extend Affiliation Agreement Through 2022.

Earlier Tuesday, the Boston Red Sox announced that they had extended their player development contract with their Double A affiliate Portland Sea Dogs for the next four seasons.

Originally affiliated with the then-Florida Marlins, the Sea Dogs have been affiliated with the Red Sox since the start of the 2003 season.

Since then, the Eastern League club has won a pair of division titles in 2005 and 2014 as well as their lone league title in 2006.

As things stand right now, the Red Sox’s 40-man roster includes 24 players who came up through the pipeline by way of Portland.

Notable alumni include Sea Dogs Hall of Famer Dustin Pedroia, Mookie Betts, Rafael Devers, Xander Bogaerts, Andrew Benintendi, Blake Swihart, Christian Vazquez, and Matt Barnes.

On the same day this news broke, the Sea Dogs also introduced former MLB catcher Joe Oliver as their 13th manager in the club’s history. Oliver, 53, has been with the Red Sox organization in a minor league managing capacity since 2014.