It was inevitable, a fact that does not make it much easier for the affected to stomach.
The Minor League Baseball season has been canceled, the league announced Tuesday, citing MLB not providing players to its clubs. The majors will attempt to play through a pandemic because there would be a lot of money lost without it; the minors, which could not try to match the level of care MLB will attempt in keeping its players safe, will be losing a lot of money.
With the 60-player pools that clubs are settling on, slots are preserved for top prospects to ensure they get reps. Those who are not on the upper echelon may miss a year of development, though there is faint hope of an extended Arizona Fall League or similar workout opportunities. The way the country has trended over the past few weeks does not bode well for the hopes of prospects or farm directors.
“These are unprecedented times for our country and our organization as this is the first time in our history that we’ve had a summer without Minor League Baseball played,” the minors said in a statement. “While this is a sad day for many, this announcement removes the uncertainty surrounding the 2020 season and allows our teams to begin planning for an exciting 2021 season of affordable family entertainment.”
The Pro Baseball Agreement that binds the minors and majors will expire after September, leading to massive upheaval throughout the ranks. Dozens of teams are expected to be cut as MLB looks to consolidate the system, and the Giants’ short-season Salem-Keizer Volcanoes were on the initial reported list of clubs on the chopping block. A major league source has indicated there is no official list, and the teams in jeopardy are still being sorted out. If Salem-Keizer has not moved its way off the list, it has played its final game.
There will still be baseball played at Sutter Health Park, the home of the Sacramento River Cats, but only because the Giants are expected to use the field for their satellite roster. Prospects outside the pool are watching a year drift away.
“I don’t think there are any specific plans for that,” Farhan Zaidi said Monday, asked if there will be opportunity for players outside the bubble. “I don’t know if that will happen.”
The Giants have committed to paying their minor leaguers $400 per week through the end of what would have been their season.