MiLB player swings bat
© Chris Kohley/USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin

Major League Baseball is pushing MLB players to take significant pay cuts for a 2020 season. Now, with the MiLB season expected to be canceled, MLB owners are taking another significant step to save money and it’s expected to change baseball for years to come.

MLB teams cut hundreds of MiLB players

On Thursday, MLB teams began officially announcing the release of hundreds of minor league players. Just days after the Oakland Athletics axed salaries for MiLB players, more team owners are expected to terminate contracts with players from across the country.

Hundreds of players have already been released this week in moves that are projected to save some MLB owners $50,000 per month. By the end of next week, per ESPN’s Jeff Passan, more than 1,000 minor league players are expected to be released and see their baseball careers end.

The decision comes at a time with MLB suggesting a dramatic financial hardship awaits team owners if a 2020 MLB season is played. As a result, the league is asking the highest-paid MLB players to take as much as an 80% reduction in their salary for an 82-game season.

The MLB Players’ Association has pushed back against the proposal, calling into question MLB’s claims of financial hardship. Owners have suggested the league will lose $4 billion if players receive prorated salaries, which was agreed to in March, and fans can’t attend games. However, that claim can’t be verified by the MLBPA due to owners not providing financial documents to support it.

Unfortunately, even if both sides reach an agreement on a plan for the 2020 MLB season, MiLB is likely to change forever with countless players kicked to the curb.

MiLB will change forever with canceled season, elimination of teams

It’s a matter of when, not if, the 2020 MiLB season is canceled, according to Baseball America. The decision is expected to be announced when MLB reaches an agreement for its 2020 season.

MiLB depends on fans attending games to stay afloat, which won’t be possible due to the coronavirus and restrictions on mass gatherings across the United States. As a result, owners of minor league teams are scrambling to keep their clubs going during this pandemic.

MLB owners pushed to cut down the size of minor league baseball even before the coronavirus rocked the United States. The league eyed eliminated 40-plus minor league teams, coming off a year when MLB made $10 billion in revenue, to help upgrade minor league facilities and pay MiLB players minimum wage.

After pushing back on the proposed downsizing, with help from Congress, MiLB owners have since relented due to financial hardships. As a result, with 40-plus unidentified teams expected to be eliminated, the fight for survival has been described as “The Wild West”.

Unfortunately, it will still end in the elimination of minor league teams across the country. More than 1,000 players will now see their careers end and tens of thousands of sports fans will lose access to watching baseball at the ballpark.