The Red Sox informed full-time employees Monday that their salaries are guaranteed through at least May 31.
The decision was made after Major League Baseball informed teams that commissioner Rob Manfred will suspend uniform employee contracts as of May 1. That gives teams the option to furlough baseball operations employees or cut their salaries because of the COVID-19 pandemic. That includes major- and minor-league managers, coaches, scouts, trainers, and other staff members, about 9,000 in people in all across baseball.
“Our clubs rely heavily on revenue from tickets/concessions, broadcasting/media, licensing, and sponsorships to pay salaries,” Manfred wrote in an e-mail to teams, a copy of which was obtained by the Associated Press.
“In the absence of games, these revenue streams will be lost or substantially reduced, and clubs will not have sufficient funds to meet their financial obligations.”
The Red Sox have declined that option for at least the next six weeks. Based on the team’s 2020 media guide, the Sox have approximately 400 full-time employees, including baseball operations.
Various outlets have reported that the Astros, Blue Jays, Braves, Brewers, Cardinals, Cubs, Diamondbacks, Giants, Mariners, Marlins, Phillies, Reds, Rockies, Royals, Tigers, Twins, and White Sox also will continue to pay at least their baseball operations employees.
Most of the others are expected to make that commitment in the coming days.
Some small-market teams could resort to cost-cutting measures as baseball, like so many other businesses, deals with a lack of revenue due to the game being shut down.
These decisions do not affect any major league players, who are represented by the MLB Players Association. Players are being paid partial salaries, based on service time, out of a pool of $170 million. That agreement runs through May 24. Subsequent salaries will be determined based on how many games are played. MLB is expected to seek additional cuts if games are played without fans.
Because the pandemic was labeled a national emergency by the federal government, provisions in the uniform player and employee contracts allow for the commissioner to approve unilateral pay cuts.
Provisions have been made to pay minor league players a portion of their salaries. The Red Sox are among the teams who have set aside funds to aid game-day staffers at Fenway Park.
According to The Athletic and ESPN, MLB is paying its employees through May 31. Manfred and other senior staffers have taken an average pay cut of 35 percent.