The Washington Nationals, who are owned by the Lerner Family (estimated net worth of $4.3 billion), planned to cut their already-meager, weekly minor-league stipends by 25 percent from $400 to $300 in June.
Once Nationals players found out about the pay cut, they held a Zoom meeting, according to The Athletic’s Brittany Ghiroli, and decided to make up for those lost wages out of their own pockets.
Nationals reliever Sean Doolittle made the announcement Sunday night.
“After hearing that Nationals minor league players are facing additional pay cuts, the current members of the Washington Nationals Major League club will be coming together and committing funds to make whole the lost wages from their weekly stipends,” Nationals reliever Sean Doolittle wrote on Twitter.
“All of us were minor leaguers at one point in our careers and we know how important the weekly stipends are for them and their families during these uncertain times.
“Minor leaguers are an essential part of our organization and they are bearing the heaviest burden of this situation as their season is likely to be cancelled. We recognize that and want to stand with them and show our support.”
Since then, Doolittle’s tweet has gotten over 5k retweets and nearly 40k likes.
Nationals’ catcher Yan Gomes retweeted Doolittle’s message while starting pitcher Patrick Corbin retweeted several tweets critical of Nationals’ ownership.
Stand together! https://t.co/w5DJrxv4iD
— Yan Gomes (@Yan_AGomes) June 1, 2020
Mark Lerner, owner of 70% of the Nationals, is worth $5.3 billion. https://t.co/7rUNV6u5B4
— keithlaw (@keithlaw) May 31, 2020
The Nationals are the only known team to cut down to $300/wk for all of its minor leaguers, incl AAA guys. Said 1 player: "I really feel for the guys that were let go. Most of us live paycheck to paycheck at best, and in this situation, I’m not sure there is much they can do."
— Britt Ghiroli (@Britt_Ghiroli) May 31, 2020
The Nationals’ actions and the negative press surrounding the move made the Nationals reverse course. Monday, the organization decided to restore the weekly stipend to $400 for June.
This is objectively great news
— Eireann Dolan (@EireannDolan) June 1, 2020
Though the team “will consider future payments on a month-to-month basis.”
To be clear: Nationals are ONLY paying $400 for June. After the big league guys offered to pay the lost wages.
A memo obtained by @EmilyCWaldon and I said DC "will consider future payments on a month-to-month" basis.
Updated story w/ list of 40 cuts: https://t.co/ztG2YokBEY
— Britt Ghiroli (@Britt_Ghiroli) June 1, 2020
The Nationals have also released 40 players, many of whom are minor league free agents, since there will likely not be a minor league season this year due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Keon Barnum, Dante Bichette Jr., Adalberto Carrillo, Phil Caulfield, Tyler Cropley, Austin Davidson, Jose De Los Santos, Rafael Gomez, Merandy Gonzalez, Abrahan Hiraldo, Hayden Howard, Jacob Howell, Hunter Jones, Alec Keller, Tyler Mapes, Adrian Martinez, Robert Milacki, Jordan Mills, Jorge Pantoja, Juan Pascal, Jairon Peguero, Landerson Pena, Nicholas Perkins, Anthony Peroni, Miguel Pozo, Paul Russo, Luis Sardinas, Derek Self, Eric Senior, Wilson Severino, JB Shuck, Jack Sundberg, Alejandro Vallejo, Eduardo Vera, Trey Vickers, Drew Ward, Allen Webster, Mac Williamson and Ryan Williamson.
Headline photo: Ian Oland/RMNB
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