Trying to figure out who deserves support in a battle between millionaires and billionaires just got a little bit easier thanks to an act of kindness by David Price. The Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher is reaching into his wallet to help minor-league players in the organization.
Minor-league players are taking a heavy hit
The past few days have been horrible for minor-league baseball players in multiple organizations. Major-league clubs had committed early in the shutdown caused by the coronavirus pandemic to pay players in their farm system $400 a week – not much of a check, but at least something to help them get by.
However, the arrangement expires at the end of May. A few teams have announced that they will continue payments in June or beyond, but most of the news in the past few days has been about teams releasing multiple players in light of the fact that there appears to be no hope for a 2020 minor-league system.
On top of that, MLB owners have been moving toward eliminating approximately 40 minor-league teams by 2021 in a major realignment of how organizations are set up. That move alone will put close to 1,000 players out of work permanently.
While all this is going on, owners and players are continuing to haggle over the financial arrangements that might allow MLB to squeeze in half a season. It’s a fight over money, naturally.
David Price steps up to help Dodgers farmhands
An early-February trade shook up MLB as the Boston Red Sox made a move to dump salaries. The Red Sox sent outfielder Mookie Betts and pitcher David Price to the Los Angeles Dodgers in return for prospects Jeter Downs, Connor Wong, and Alex Verdugo.
Price, who has seemingly been hit by injuries every other season in the second half of his career, was off to an OK start in spring training before the pandemic shutdown and made two Grapefruit League appearances.
Price, who is due to make $32 million a year through 2022, barely had time to meet his major-league teammates this spring, let alone players from the farm system. That isn’t stopping Price from offering up a magnificent gesture.
The 34-year-old pitcher has pledged to donate $1,000 to every Dodgers minor-leaguer in June who is not on the 40-man roster. According to the Los Angeles Times, that will cost the pitcher a little more than $200,000.
Price has made $175 million in his 11-year MLB career, so he can presumably afford the gesture. Still, the fact that it’s a millionaire player rather than a billionaire owner writing the checks creates a public relations problem for the people running the sport.
Shin-Soo Choo made a similar commitment
David Price was not the first MLB player to lend a hand to minor-league baseball players. In April, it was revealed that 15-year outfielder Shin-Soo Choo of the Texas Rangers was supplementing payments by the club with $1,000 of his own money for each player in the farm system.
Choo, 37, was scheduled to earn $21 million this year and has made more than $130 million in his career.