Baseball seasons remain up in the air

The Major League Baseball (MLB) season is still up in the air, and there has been uncertainty surrounding the minor leagues as well, as there is no timetable to the start of play.

At the end of spring training, a number of players were cut as teams look to trim their rosters for the season. According to ESPN reporter Jeff Passan, hundreds of minor league players were cut on Thursday, with more expecting to lose their jobs in the coming days and weeks.

Grand Bahamian Orveo Saint was one of those players cut last Thursday. He played in the Milwaukee Brewers organization on the Brewers Blue team in the Arizona League at the rookie level.

The shortstop signed a minor league contract with the Brewers in April of 2017. Saint appeared in 59 games in his minor league career, going 47-for-178, averaging .152. He had three home-runs and 21 runs batted in (RBIs). His slugging percentage was .264. Saint had nine stolen bases and 20 runs scored.

The COVID-19 pandemic has affected the jobs of front office staff and game-day workers of minor league teams as well.

Unlike other leagues which are finalizing a return to play, MLB and the Major League Baseball Players Association (MLBPA) have yet to agree on terms as it relates to the 2020 season, with finances and salaries playing a major part.

Teams were in spring training when the COVID-19 pandemic forced everything to shut down with the hopes of a return. The MLB season was set to start Thursday, March 26.

Major league teams agreed to pay minor league players $400 per week up until Sunday, May 31. However, there are 16 teams that are still offering stipends to the players. A number of those organizations feature Bahamians, including the Miami Marlins, the New York Mets, the Tampa Bay Rays, the Arizona Diamondbacks, the Baltimore Orioles and the San Francisco Giants.

Given the potential of more cuts, and the MLB and MLBPA trying to find a middle ground, it is unknown if play will get underway in the minors this year.

MiLB President Pat O’Conner has not given an official word as yet.

The Bahamas has a long history of players in the minor leagues and this year was set up to be no different, with a number of promising players under contract with their respective teams.

The Diamondbacks’ Kristian Robinson is the number one prospect for his team. The outfielder is also ranked at number 43 on the ESPN top 100 MLB prospects list. Marlins shortstop Jasrado Chisholm is not far behind him as he is ranked at number 66 on the list, and is at number three for the Marlins.

Pitcher Tahnaj Thomas is ranked at number 13 for the Pittsburgh Pirates. Ranking at number nine on the Los Angeles Angels’ list is outfielder D’Shawn Knowles. Also on the top 30 prospects list for the Angels is outfielder Trent Deveaux. Lucius Fox Jr. is ranked at number 25 on the Rays’ top 30 list, and infielder Keithron Moss is ranked at number 30 in the Texas Rangers organization.

Bahamian players who are home have been training and working out privately since the national lockdown started.

They are hoping for a resolution to be reached so that they can have an opportunity to realize their dreams of playing in the major leagues.

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Simba French

Simba joined The Nassau Guardian in 2012 as a technical producer for Guardian Radio 96.9 FM. He joined the Editorial Department as a sports reporter in 2018. Simba has covered a wide range of sports stories, including the 2018 CARIFTA in Nassau, Bahamas. Education: College of the Bahamas, BA Media Journalism

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