Athletics Will Furlough Workers Beginning in June; Pay Cuts Await Others

John Hickey

The Oakland A’s are joining the growing list of Major League Baseball teams who will be furloughing much of their scouting staff and up to three-quarters of their player development employees.

Reports out of ESPN and the San Francisco Chronicle Tuesday afternoon indicated the A’s scouting cuts would be almost as severe as those put forward by the Angels last week. The first of the furloughs go into effect on June 1 and others will be effective until after the two-day June draft, which begins June 10.

With no baseball being played at any level – although Major League Baseball is hopeful for a June Spring Training II and a shortened season that would begin the first week of July – there are no games to be scouted as high school, college, amateur and summer leagues have all been shut down.

As for the player development trims, that goes to the suggestion that minor league baseball will be extremely limited, if it’s played at all. The current plan calls for 50 players, 30 on the active roster and 20 on a taxi squad. The A’s would need some of their player development folks around, primarily to help marshal the taxi squad.

The club will continue to pay benefits, including health care and 401-K and pension benefits for the furloughed employees. A source told the Chronicle that employees have been notified that the moves will go through Oct. 31, regardless of whether or not a shortened season is played.

Employees remaining will be asked to take salary reductions, with the biggest earners taking the biggest cuts. Personnel making under $60,000 apparently will not have their salaries cut.

The gravity of the situation was spelled out in club owner John Fisher reaching out to season ticket holders  with a letter that said, in part, "Nobody knows how this pandemic will evolve over the long term. What is clear is that our revenues will be dramatically reduced. this year. None of this diminishes the pain of today's actions, but it is an honest acknowledgement of the circumstances of the moment." 

It is Fisher's first public statement as A's owner. 

The Angels and the Marlins were the first teams to announce drastic cuts, but the pace is picking up, with the Rays, the Pirates and the Reds also taking that route.

But other teams like the Blue Jays, the Phillies, the Mariners and the Brewers have opted against gutting their baseball operations staff, although pay cuts have been imposed in some case.

There are other options. The Indians have said they will pay staff through June at a minimum. And the Dodgers will use tiered salary cuts for employees making over $75,000.

Follow Athletics insider John Hickey on Twitter: @JHickey3

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