Which MLB Teams Are Paying Salaries in Full During the Coronavirus Pandemic?

Over half of the 30 MLB franchises have reportedly pledged to pay their baseball operations employees through the end of next month, at least.

Baseball has been among the sports most severely impacted by the coronavirus outbreak. The regular season was due to begin on March 26 but has been postponed indefinitely due to the pandemic, leaving teams to face a dire financial scenario, which has left some franchises fearing furloughs and layoffs may be a distinct possibility unless baseball makes a swift return.

According to ESPN, however, 18 teams have committed to pay baseball operations staff through to next month. The franchises are the Arizona Diamondbacks, Atlanta Braves, Boston Red Sox, Chicago Cubs, Chicago White Sox, Cincinnati Reds, Colorado Rockies, Detroit Tigers, Houston Astros, Kansas City Royals, Miami Marlins, Milwaukee Brewers, Minnesota Twins, Philadelphia Phillies, San Francisco Giants, Seattle Mariners, St. Louis Cardinals and the Toronto Blue Jays.

Additionally, the San Diego Padres will pay baseball operations staff until the end of the regular season, although some will be asked to take a pay cut.

Significantly, however, a number of MLB's biggest market teams, such as the Los Angeles Dodgers and both New York-based franchises are yet to commit to a similar arrangement, as are the Washington Nationals, who won the World Series last year.

News of the pledge from the 18 franchises came on the same day MLB commissioner Rob Manfred indicated teams will be given the green light to furlough baseball operations staff.

The Athletic and ESPN both reported Manfred told teams he planned to suspend the Uniform Employee Contracts from May 1, which would allow teams to stop covering the salaries of non-playing personnel. That includes managers and coaches at both major-league and minor-league levels, as well as scouts and some front-office staffers.

With revenue streams from broadcasting, tickets, concessions and licensing now running dry, Manfred pointed out teams will not be able to cope with the financial hit.

"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," he was quoted as saying.

Manfred also reiterated he "fully anticipated baseball will return this season," but did not offer a detailed timeframe.

Earlier this month, it emerged the MLB and the MLB Players Association (MLBPA) had received the support of high-ranking federal public health officials after floating the prospect of getting the regular season underway next month behind closed doors.

The proposal being considered by the MLB would involve all 30 franchises playing games at Chase Field, the home of Arizona Diamondbacks, in Phoenix and other ballparks in the Phoenix area.

Federal officials at the CDC and the National Institute of Health have reportedly offered their support to the idea, but any plans would only be approved if the MLB commits to strictly adhere to the social media distancing guidelines.

Last week, President Donald Trump name-checked baseball when he told reporters he wanted sports to play a major role in getting the U.S. economy back up and running.

"We want to get our sports back," he said as he addressed the media in the Rose Garden at the White House. "So importantly. [...] We have to get our sports back. I'm tired of watching baseball games that are 14-years-old."

While baseball may be among the first sports to return, it will in all likelihood do so behind closed doors, as Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), detailed last week.

"Nobody comes to the stadium," he explained during an interview with Snapchat's Good Luck America host Peter Hamby

"Put [the players] in big hotels, wherever you want to play, keep them very well surveilled. [...] Have them tested every single week and make sure they don't wind up infecting each other or their family, and just let them play the season out."

As of Tuesday morning, nearly 788,000 cases have been reported in the U.S., by far the highest toll in the world. Over 42,300 deaths have been recorded in the U.S. and more than 73,500 people have recovered, according to Johns Hopkins University, which has been tracking the outbreak using combined data sources.

Over 170,400 people have died globally since the outbreak of coronavirus was first identified in Wuhan, a city located in China's central Hubei province, late last year. There have been nearly 2.5 million confirmed cases globally and almost 653,000 recoveries.

Oriole Park, MLB
A general view of Oriole Park at Camden Yards on March 13 in Baltimore, Maryland. Major League Baseball cancelled spring training games and has delayed opening day by at least two weeks due to COVID-19. Rob Carr/Getty