The Oakland Athletics, feeling the financial crunch of a 2020 season that has yet to get off the ground, have implemented a system of furloughs and salary reductions that will impact the majority of their baseball-operations department, sources told ESPN on Tuesday.
Professional scouts will be furloughed next week and amateur scouts will be furloughed shortly after the June 10-11 draft. In addition, about three-quarters of the A's player-development staff is believed to be bracing for furloughs, which typically run through the end of October, industry sources said. Layoffs have not been implemented, but baseball-operations employees who were not furloughed will face pay reductions.
The A's also informed minor league players on Tuesday that they would not continue paying them $400 a week after the end of the month, sources familiar with the situation told ESPN's Jeff Passan.
"Baseball is more than a job -- it is a way of life," Athletics owner John Fisher wrote in a letter to fans and staff. "People who work for our team are our family -- our very foundation -- and they work tirelessly to help the A's compete in this most precious game. COVID-19 has brought a tragic loss of life and sickness to so many in our community, and it has impacted us all in ways we could have never imagined. Our organization, like so many others across the country, has had to make tough and painful decisions."
The A's, who are reportedly past due on the annual $1.2 million rent payment for their stadium, joined the Los Angeles Angels and the Miami Marlins among teams that have instituted wide-ranging furloughs as a cost-cutting measure amid the financial difficulties caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
Major League Baseball presented its first economic proposal to the MLB Players Association on Tuesday, marking the beginning of what is expected to be a prolonged, contentious negotiation. The hope is that both sides can come to an agreement so that the regular season can begin in early July, though games will be played without fans.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.