We are yet to meet the 2020 Rochester Red Wings. We probably never will.
However, the Minnesota Twins know who they are or, at least, who they likely were going to be.
And the Twins are going to take care of them.
ESPN baseball insider Jeff Passan reported Friday afternoon that the Twins will pay all minor leaguers a $400 per week stipend for the duration of the normal minor league season, which lasts until the end of August. In addition, the Twins will not release any of their minor league players. It’s something teams around the majors have begun to do this week.
Twins minor league players will also receive their full benefits, including health insurance.
The $400 per week is still below what many, but not all, minor league players would make for the season.
Baseball suspended spring training in the middle of March along with the rest of the sports world. Like the NBA and NHL, Major League Baseball has been rumored to be formulating a return to play plan.
The baseball plan is currently mired in a muddy negotiation between players and owners on how much of the sport’s lost revenue for this season each side should incur. It’s likely an agreement will happen at some point because the sides would each lose additional revenue should there be no games to satisfy their local and national television agreements.
Minor league baseball has no television revenue to save. Those teams make their money almost entirely from attendance and the ancillary dollars that follow those fans in the stands. If sports proceed this summer without fans, it becomes nearly impossible for minor league organizations to function.
That’s why the expectation is baseball’s return to play plan will contain a cancellation for all minor league games this summer.
The Oakland A’s, reportedly, do plan on paying players beyond the end of May. Another report says that pitcher David Price has volunteered to pay all the minor leaguers in the Dodgers system $1,000 for the month of June.
Some teams have pledged to keep paying their minor league players all season, just as the Twins. Minnesota is one of the first to be reported planning also to not release any of their minor league players. The Royals are doing it, too.
Many of the releases this week are moves that would have been made during the normal course of spring training. They are players that would have not made teams. However, many are also related to the likely shutdown of minor league baseball due to Covid-19 concerns.
Friday’s news does not benefit the Red Wings organization, just the players who would have worn their uniforms. It is likely the only victory Rochester baseball fans will get to cheer in 2020.