A week after reports the notoriously penurious Oakland A’s ownership decided it will not pay its $1.2 million rent at the Coliseum, comes news the team will stop making weekly $400 payments to its minor league players starting next week.
ESPN’s Jeff Passan tweeted the tidbit on Tuesday evening, citing unnamed sources.
A back of the napkins estimate of how much it costs the A’s to pay players in their farm system is about $1 million, according to Passan.
A’s owner John Fisher is one of the richest in Major League Baseball. But the founder of The Gap is has been in some financial difficulty recently as the once popular retail clothing store continues to lose money. In April, The Gap announced it would stop paying rent at all of its retail locations.
Around the same time, the A’s notified the Oakland Coliseum Joint Powers Authority that it would not be making its rent payment this year because of covid-19.
Furthermore, a fairly recent change in how Major League Baseball compensates small-market franchises like the A’s has pinched its bottom line. It now means the team is no longer able to subsidize its small payroll with annual payments from other owners.
The loss of the subsidies is one reason why the A’s have sought in recent years to build a privately-financed waterfront ballpark at Howard Terminal in Oakland in order to create new revenues for the franchise.
The Athletic reports A’s full-time employees earning more than $60,000 a year will receive pay cuts or be furloughed beginning on June 1.