Jon Heyman Tweeted earlier tonight that the Diamondbacks have released 64 minor league players in recent days. The news is not unexpected, given the increasing likelihood of there being little or no minor-league baseball to be played this season. The upcoming MLB draft will consist of only five rounds, largely removing the need for any rookie short-season teams after the draft. And if there is any major-league baseball, the rosters will be potentially twice as large, effectively absorbing the top tier of minor-league players for whatever games end up getting played.
The Diamondbacks are also far from alone, though the numbers here may be more than average. Jeff Passan reported that “hundreds of minor league players were cut today,” and RJ Anderson at CBS Sports said most teams cut or are expected to cut “somewhere between 30 and 50 players.” There has been little or no word of specific players whom were cut by the Diamondbacks. However, infielder Alex King took to Twitter to announce he was one of the players affected, and would be quitting baseball as a result.
Well guys, it’s been one hell of a ride. But as of this afternoon, I have been released by the Diamondbacks and will be retiring from the sport I played my whole life.— Alex King (@rexybing) May 28, 2020
Thank you to everyone who helped make this dream a reality, but my time has come to an end.
King was always a long shot, having been a 35th-round pick by Arizona in the 2018 draft. He spent 2019 between High-A Visalia and A-ball Kane County, batting .247 with a .707 OPS and six home-runs in 84 games.
Depressing though it may be to say it, this could conceivably be the end of the minor leagues in the way that we know them. As has been well discussed, MLB was already looking so slash more than 40 teams, reducing teams to four affiliated franchises. This would likely have been the subject of protracted negotiations, but it’s anyone’s guess how minor-league teams will survive what looks increasingly like the entire 2020 season being wiped out. Maybe others will follow the example of Twins affiliate, the Pensacola Blue Wahoos, and rent their stadium out on AirBNB.