With the spread of the novel coronavirus delaying Major League Baseball's season until an unknowable date in the future, teams across the league have flocked to enact various cost-cutting measures. Those have so far included furloughing staff, cutting internship programs, and trimming salaries above a certain threshold. One team, however, has taken the admirable step of ensuring employees that they will have jobs through October.
The Philadelphia Phillies, who are believed to be the first team to make such a declaration, made it official on Friday. An email from managing partner John Middleton was obtained by NBC Sports Philadelphia and said, among other things, the following:
"While we will likely need to implement other cost-cutting alternatives in the interim to deal with our extraordinary loss of revenue, including possible salary reductions, you can be assured of your job and health insurance for the next five-plus months."
Middleton's email also included him expressing his confidence that games will be played this year, albeit without full stands. "Our industry is determined to make it work," he wrote, "and I am confident that we will find a way."
Middleton's message comes days before MLB is expected to submit a proposal to the Players Association for a potential modified season. The latest indications are that the proposal will call for approximately 80 games and an expanded postseason. (You can read more about that here.) The biggest points of contention are expected to be the health precautions taken by the league, as well as the owners' demands that the players take reduced salaries in correspondence with loss gate revenue.
The MLB season was supposed to get underway on March 26. In recent weeks, leagues in Taiwan and South Korea have both launched their seasons with little to no fan presence, and with an increased emphasis on player safety and hygiene.