Major League Baseball teams are starting to cut minor-leaguers, as clubs believe there will not be a 2020 minor-league season. Hundreds of players have already been cut, and hundreds more are expected.
One MLB agent described the releases to DK Pittsburgh Sports as "COVID cuts." Teams are also anticipating there being fewer teams next season, meaning there will be a roster crunch for next season, so teams are getting a start on their cuts.
While it is not official yet, minor-league baseball is expected to contract 40 teams next season at the behest of MLB and commissioner Rob Manfred, who argued those teams' facilities were not up to standard.
At the moment, the Pirates are not listed among the teams who have made any cuts. It is not yet known if they will make any.
Under minor-league contraction, the Pirates would lose one of their affiliates: The Bristol Pirates, an advanced-rookie club.
This news also comes as MLB's promise of financial support to minor-leaguers comes to a close. All teams pledged to pay their minor-leaguers $400 per week through at least the end of May, as players went home from spring training not knowing when they could return to baseball. That uncertainty of not knowing when they would need to return would make it difficult for them to secure work, especially as unemployment across the country started to rise.
While some clubs have announced they will extend financial support to prospects through at least the end of June -- and in the Twins, Royals and Padres case, the whole season -- the Athletics told their minor-leaguers that they were cutting off the aid at the end of the month.
There is no word on if the Pirates will be extending financial support to their minor-leaguers.