The 2020 Major League Baseball season may not even happen. Still the Oakland Athletics and their owner John Fisher have made waves with recent announcements. Which includes electing to not pay rent, furloughing scouts and half of the A’s front office and most infuriating announcing that minor league players in their system will not get their $400 weekly stipend starting in June.
Fisher himself though is worth $2.1 billion. The cost to pay the nearly 200 players in the A’s minor league system for the months of June, July and August a little over $1 million. Seems like a number that is easily affordable to a billionaire.
His unwillingness to pay is not surprising. Even before the pandemic happened Fisher has gone out of his way to spend as little as possible on a franchise he owns. In 2010, Ben Sheets got signed to a 1-year deal worth $10 million after the A’s captured the attention of MLB for its low payroll.
More recently the Players Association has accused Oakland of not spending appropriately. There are questions of what will happen to Matt Chapman, Matt Olson and Marcus Semien. The likelihood is that at most one of the three will get an extension while the other two get used as trade bait for prospects. When again Fisher has the resources to afford all three.
Now Commissioner Rob Manfred gets a golden chance to put Fisher out of his misery. He will force him out due to his unwillingness to show any kind of decency to his minor league players. The only two options now are to take over ownership of the A’s franchise or he must sell the team.
Either way Fisher needs to go immediately. Right now it reflects poorly of all of MLB.
Just some rough math. Say there are 200 players in a minor league system. Paying each $400/week for July, July and August is $5,200 per player. To pay every minor leaguer would have cost the Oakland A’s a hair over $1 million.
Owner John Fisher is worth an estimated $2 billion.
— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) May 27, 2020
I’ve talked to other “LIFERS” & the pain in their voice, the uncertainty, it kills me. To have accumulated the wealth of knowledge a life around this game can provide, only to be told “That’s enough for now” is earth shattering. Days spent Questioning your purpose/worth. This SUX https://t.co/HS9ZqnAXZo
— Dallas Braden (@DALLASBRADEN209) May 26, 2020
I shouldn’t be surprised the @Athletics are being cheapskates. I had to BUY my first TEAM-ISSUED equipment bag. Gets better. They tried to take it back at the end of Instructional League! “Ted Mart” waited til I was on the field to go in my locker & grab it.
— Jeremy Barfield (@BarfontheField) May 27, 2020
The added shame about the A’s halting $400 weekly stipends for minor leaguers is that they remain A’s employees — just unpaid employees — and can’t seek free agency or file for unemployment. With the move the A’s save about $1M to 1.2M. @stephapstein and @EmilyCWaldon on it
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) May 28, 2020
Oakland #Athletics owner John Fisher is worth $2.1 billion. The team cut pay to minor leaguers.
If Fisher had started paying his entire minor-league system their current $400-a-week rate every year starting the year CHRIST ROSE FROM THE DEAD, he’d have $110-116M left over.
— Jacob Kornhauser (@KornSports) May 28, 2020