The Pirates became the latest team to extend their promise of pay and health benefits to their minor-league players Saturday, committing to supporting them through at least the end of June.
A team source confirmed to DK Pittsburgh Sports that the Pirates will pay their players on the roster their full per diem, which is $400 per week.
Major League Baseball extended financial support to minor-league players in mid-March, shortly after the COVID-19 shutdown began. Players had expressed concerns about finding work during the pandemic, especially since they did not know when they would have to return to their teams.
However, the league-wide promise expires after Sunday. While most teams have committed to extending those benefits, the Athletics told their prospects that they were stopping that aid at the end of the month.
“It was important to us that we were supporting them, as well as others, in a time of need,” Williams said.
However, there is no word on if the Pirates will be cutting any players. The club is still assessing potential minor-league roster decisions, and none have been made up to this point.
If the Pirates do cut any players, though, they will still receive pay and health benefits through June as well.
Hundreds of minor-league players have been cut across baseball this week, as parent clubs expect there won't be a minor-league season this year. While it is not yet official, it also widely believed that 40 minor-league teams will be contracted at the end of the year, at the behest of MLB. Eliminating one-fourth of minor-league teams is causing a roster crunch across the league.
MLB has cited poor facilities as the reason why they want the cuts.
The Pirates will lose one of their affiliates in MLB's plan: Their advanced-rookie partner, the Bristol Pirates. Overall, the club is carrying more than 300 minor-league players, which is above the average number due to the Bristol team and their Dominican affiliates.