PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – The Pittsburgh Pirates organization has committed to paying its employees through at least May 31 amid the suspension of the MLB season due to the COVID-19 outbreak.
As of now, there is no concrete plan for baseball to return in 2020 but MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred is quoted as saying, “I fully anticipate baseball will return this season.”
Pirates have committed to paying employees through at least May 31. And if you recall, they grasped the potential significance of Covid-19 well ahead of most.
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) April 21, 2020
On Monday, Manfred informed all 30 clubs of a plan that will allow clubs to furlough employees or reduce the pay of nonplaying personnel. “In the absence of games, revenue streams will be lost or substantially reduced, and clubs will not have sufficient funds to meet their financial obligations.”
However, many teams have decided to pay these employees through at least the end of May.
Some of the teams that will pay their employees, along with the Pirates, include all of their division rivals, the Cubs, Cardinals, Brewers and Reds as well as big market clubs like the Red Sox, Astros and Phillies.
One team, the San Diego Padres, has committed to paying their baseball operations staff through the end of the scheduled season. According to sources, a few of the highest revenue generating clubs have not given their employees assurances of payment including the Yankees, Dodgers, Mets and Nationals.
Teams may extend payment to employees beyond May 31 but for now that is the date they have settled on. Hopefully by then clubs have a clearer idea on when or if the MLB season will return in 2020.
Pirates President Travis Williams released a statement on Thursday, saying in full:
“There is obviously a lot of uncertainty and speculation around the 2020 season. While the league is looking at multiple scenarios, each represents a significant negative impact to our operations. As has been the case throughout this rapidly-changing crisis, we are working hard to minimize its effect on our employees.
Earlier today we held a conference call with our baseball operations employees who are on Uniform Employee Contracts to discuss the Commissioner’s decision to suspend all UECs across the league, and explain what that means for everyone.
We informed the group that we will continue to pay them through May 31, while we evaluate the impact of the coronavirus on the 2020 season. We also told them that we are exploring an initial set of tiered salary reductions for highly-compensated employees in baseball and business operations, as well as other types of personnel adjustments.
Part of what makes this situation so difficult is that nobody truly knows with absolute certainty what the short-term and long-term outlook will be moving forward. The coronavirus and its impact on our community and our sport evolves by the day.
We wish that we didn’t have to have these conversations, but they have become necessary as this crisis continues to impact our operations. We will always keep the best interests of our employees and the organization in mind, and continue doing everything we can to support our community.”