Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reports that Commissioner Rob Manfred will suspend Uniform Employee Contracts on May 1st. Doing so will enable teams to reduce the pay of or outright furlough managers, coaches, scouts and some front office staff. The contracts contain similar langue to that contained within player contracts that allowed them to be suspended when President Trump declared a state of emergency. The employees will not lose their healthcare benefits.
Manfred’s move will not mandate that teams take such action with the employees in question, but it’s not hard to imagine that clubs might feel motivated to save cash however they can. Notably, these contracts also include minor league managers and coaches.
Furloughs would likely generate bad blood, so expect to see pay deferrals or cuts. The players agreed to similar provisions when their contracts were suspended.
None of the major sports leagues in the United States have set target dates for resumption of play, so it’s hard to judge how long any possible furloughs would last. Pay cuts would also likely need to be through the end of the season, as any possible games that take place this year would likely need to happen without fans present.
Obviously, baseball is an enormously lucrative industry when there aren’t ongoing international pandemics. Many of the owners are billionaires. The clubs are hurting at the moment due to the lack of revenue from ticket and merchandise sales. There’s no public data on the exact losses being experienced by the teams right now, but it’s difficult to imagine that any salary cuts that happen as a result of Manfred’s decision would be absolutely necessary to stay afloat. You can draw your own conclusions.