Jeff Passan broke some news yesterday, something truly positive:
Good news: All minor league players will be receiving $400 a week from Major League Baseball teams through at least May 31, source tells ESPN. They’ll receive medical benefits, too. Announcement by the league is expected soon.— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) March 31, 2020
Why positive? Well, as Passan tries to explain in response to many sarcastic and angry comments, there was a very real possibility that MLB wouldn’t do anything for minor leaguers this spring, as games are postponed due to the coronavirus. Baseball owners are not obligated to their minor leaguers, morality plays notwithstanding. As Passan points out, for lower levels, this “dole” MLB is issuing is actually an increase in pay.
How sad is it that we have to consider this — minor leaguers getting (debatable) living wage during a pandemic — a positive? And how much sadder for those Low-A players (for example) who will actually get a pay cut when (if) play begins again?
In unrelated news, but still stuck in the minors, A.J. Reed retired on Tuesday.
No, that’s wrong. Reed, apparently, retired back on March 4, when games were still being played. Somehow, we’re just hearing about it now. (It could very well be that Reed left camp/told the White Sox he was done, and the team just said, hey, A.J., take a few days to think about this ... and Reed did just recently make his decision final.)
No matter the date, it’s never a great story when a first-rounder flames out of baseball so rapidly. He was drafted by Houston in 2014 and was at Triple-A by 2016. He got his first taste of the majors that year, and though he had several sips of coffee over the past four seasons, he spat all of them out: a career .149/.241/.234 slash in 62 career games. Yes, a player pushing three bills (weight was an issue in his struggles in the majors) couldn’t outslug his OBA.
Whatever Reed’s issues, he saw the writing on the wall as a major leaguer. And with the White Sox in 2020, he was destined to be the lowest priority at 1B/DH in Charlotte, on a team full of them (Yermín Mercedes, Zack Collins, Matt Skole, Gavin Sheets, and soon Andrew Vaughn).
Reed’s last major league game, an Aug. 1, 2019 loss to the Mets, is almost impossibly sad: Batting cleanup (!), the DH went 0-for-4, with four strikeouts.