Tuesday's MLB: Vets get $4,775 daily for 60 days during virus stoppage
New York — Gerrit Cole, Mike Trout and other veteran major leaguers will receive $4,775 per day in advance pay for the first 60 days of the season during the stoppage caused by the new coronavirus, a total of $286,500.
That’s just 2.5% of the $193,548 the New York Yankees pitcher and Los Angeles Angels outfielder were scheduled to earn each day during the 186-day season from their $36 million salaries, tied for the major league high this year.
The daily total was obtained by The Associated Press after it was confirmed by Major League Baseball and the players’ association following their agreement last week on how to proceed during the stoppage.
Less veteran players receive smaller amounts specified in the agreement: $16,500, $30,000 or $60,000, depending on the contract.
MLB has delayed opening day until mid-May at the earliest, and it remains unclear when or if the season will start.
Under the terms of the deal, teams are combining to give $170 million in advance pay to players on 40-man rosters, injured lists and outright assignments to the minor leagues. The payments will be made in equal installments on the normal payroll schedule and do not have to be repaid is the season is scrapped. They cover from March 26, the original opening day, through May 24 or whenever the season starts, whichever is earlier.
Money is being split into four classes based on contract status. Young players not yet eligible for salary arbitration have what baseball calls split contracts, with different salaries depending on whether the player is in the major leagues or in the minors. Payments to the more senior players were determined by accounting for the less senior players, then dividing the remainder among players with so-called straight salaries — the same amount in the majors and minors.
A player receives $275 daily if his salary while in the minors is $46,000 to $91,799, a group that includes highly touted rookies such as Boston infielder Bobby Dalbec and Atlanta outfielder Cristian Pache.
Those with salaries in the minors from $91,800 to $149,999, a group that has signed at least their second big league contract, get $500 daily. Those players include well-regarded rookies such as Los Angeles Dodgers infielder Gavin Lux and Tampa Bay pitcher Brendan McKay.
Players with salaries in the minors of $150,000 or more receive $1,000 daily, among them 2019 NL Rookie of the Year Pete Alonso of the New York Mets, 2019 AL Rookie of the Year Yordan Álvarez and 2018 AL Rookie of the Year Shohei Ohtani of the Los Angeles Angels.
Those with single salaries get the $4,775 a day. By agreeing to a long-term contract in January, White Sox outfielder Luis Robert moved up to that category.
Projected over a full 186-day season, the payments would work out to salaries of $888,150, $186,000, $93,000 and $51,150.
Players with straight salaries had the right to opt out of the advance payments, but none did in order to simplify the process, the players’ association said Tuesday.
By the end of May, it should be clear whether professional baseball will be played at all this season. Until then, minor leaguers will be paid.
MLB announced a weekly $400 stipend for minor league players has been extended through May 31. In the unlikely event the season starts before then, salaries would replace stipends.
The money is crucial for minor leaguers, who are not paid during the offseason. The current minimum minor league salaries range from $290 per week in rookie leagues, where the season lasts three months, to $502 per week in Triple-A, where the season lasts five months.
Major league team owners, not minor league team owners, pay minor league players. In its announcement, MLB said it had suspended minor league contracts as a result of the national emergency declared by President Trump.
The league could have similarly suspended major league contracts but instead reached an agreement with the players’ union that, in the event of a canceled season, would provide players with 4% of their 2020 salaries and would grant most players a full year of service time.
Minor league players are not represented by a union.
The suspension of minor league contracts was called a “procedural matter” by MLB, because bans on large gatherings preclude minor league games. But the agreement between major league owners and minor league owners expires this fall, and with it the requirement for MLB teams to supply players to affiliated minor league teams.
MLB has said it would like to eliminate 42 minor league teams, and with them some 1,000 player jobs. In its agreement with the players’ union, MLB secured the right to shorten the draft in 2020 and 2021, so major league teams might have fewer players to supply to minor league teams.
Surgery on hold
Prominent orthopedic surgeon Dr. James Andrews has temporarily halted Tommy John operations at his Florida medical center in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.
The announcement came from his institute in Gulf Breeze. Some have questioned whether a reconstructive elbow surgery for a ballplayer is an essential procedure at this time.
“We are not performing any non-urgent or non-emergent procedures, including Tommy John surgery, in compliance with the governor’s executive order. We are adhering to these restrictions and all such cases are suspended at this time,” a statement from an Andrews Institute spokesperson said.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis issued an executive order earlier this month that bars “any medically unnecessary, non-urgent or non-emergency procedure or surgery” that wouldn’t put a patient at risk if delayed.
Stars Chris Sale, Noah Syndergaard and Luis Severino are among the pitchers who have had Tommy John surgery since spring training started, performed by different doctors.
Sale’s surgery was done by Los Angeles Dodgers head team physician Dr. Neal ElAttrache on Monday. ElAttrache also looked at Syndergaard’s situation.