Toronto Blue Jays News

Blue Jays: A small update for coaches, scouts, and more

TORONTO, ON - MAY 21: Bench coach Dave Hudgens #39 of the Toronto Blue Jays and manager Charlie Montoyo #25 and pitching coach Pete Walker #40 look on from the dugout during MLB game action against the Boston Red Sox at Rogers Centre on May 21, 2019 in Toronto, Canada. (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)
TORONTO, ON - MAY 21: Bench coach Dave Hudgens #39 of the Toronto Blue Jays and manager Charlie Montoyo #25 and pitching coach Pete Walker #40 look on from the dugout during MLB game action against the Boston Red Sox at Rogers Centre on May 21, 2019 in Toronto, Canada. (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images) /
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According to ESPN’s Jeff Passan, all non-players in MLB operations received a letter from commissioner Rob Manfred updating them on their contract status.

Until we hear about a concrete plan from the MLB office, all we can do is speculate about if or when the baseball season can get underway in 2020. Obviously that has as much to do with the government as it does any baseball official, and the situation continues to be very fluid.

Thankfully it sounds like there is increasing optimism that there will be a MLB season of some kind this year, at least according to the latest article from ESPN’s Jeff Passan. He provides all kinds of interesting updates about the current situation, including the complications because of logistical challenges for both sides, financial negotiations, the minor leagues being left out of the picture, and much more.

There’s a lot to digest in the article and it’s definitely worth checking out, but one small portion caught my eye during my second read. I missed it amongst everything else on the first go-around, but the second time I caught this quote:

"“In a letter to those covered by the uniform employee contract last week, commissioner Rob Manfred wrote: ‘While I fully anticipate that baseball will resume this season, it is very difficult to predict with any accuracy the timeline for the resumption of our season.’ In the letter, Manfred told the employees — managers, coaches, scouts and other non-players — that he planned to suspend the contracts this Friday, allowing teams to not pay them if they so desire.”"

To his credit, Passan immediately followed with the information that almost all teams have committed to paying operations employees until the end of May, so while the tweak to their contracts will happen shortly here, their situation shouldn’t change a lot for at least another month.

He also mentioned that the date is “no accident”, but also that it’s not meant to be used as a “drop head” date either. However, the situation is described in a little more in detail with this quote:

"“The next month could provide a number of answers to issues baseball is considering as it plots its return, and the long-term retention of employees across the sport may depend on having a known, or at least expected, revenue generator.”"

That’s an interesting angle, and one I hadn’t really considered before. It makes sense that all parties want to wait for more information before re-evaluating the situation, but it’s hard to say where things could be in a little more than a month. As we’ve talked about previously, teams are going to need at least 3-4 weeks of a sort of, second spring training before they resume playing, so even if a target date to play is in July, they’ll need to start preparing for camp at the end of May anyway. With that in mind, the current contract timeline makes sense, at least for now.

However, if baseball is further delayed from being able to return, it’s unfortunate to think about some of the “non-player” personnel losing their jobs. That probably doesn’t apply to many in the skipper seat like a Charlie Montoyo, but I’m sure it’ll trickle down into the scouting department, and to many coaches and other staff.

Next. Former coach Rich Hacker passes away. dark

Hopefully it won’t come to a scenario like that, but at least there is some clarity for coaches, scouts, and others. I realize they don’t have a lot of concrete answers from this, but at least they have some advance notice to start watching for the writing on the wall.

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