No paychecks for 11 major leagues: advance greater than salary

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Grant Dayton will notice an obvious absence this season after reporting to the Atlanta Braves: his salary twice a month.

He is among 11 major league players whose prorated pay for the shortened 60-game season amounts to less than the $ 286,500 advance that the 32-year-old left-hander has already received.

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"It will be strange not to receive a salary," he said Friday, "but we have already been paid."

Dayton gave up the 6.776th and final homer of last season's record total to Dominic Smith of the New York Mets. To resume preparation for the new season, he will drive Monday from his home in Winter Haven, Florida, to Atlanta with his wife Cori, their 2.5-year-old son Decker, and nearly 6-month-old Nolan for Braves training at Truist. Park.

After the opening day was postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic, Major League Baseball and the players' association agreed on March 26 a deal that asked teams to advance $ 170 million in wages during the first 60 days of the season. .

Others who will not receive paychecks due to lower prorated wages include Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Jimmy Nelson and New York Yankees reliever Jonathan Holder ($ 277,778 each), Pittsburgh infielder Erik Gonzalez and Minnesota pitcher Matt Wisler ($ 268,519 each), Philadelphia wide receiver Andrew Knapp ($ 262,943), Chicago Cubs pitcher Jharel Cotton ($ 237,037), Boston pitchers Collin McHugh, Dodgers Ross Stripling and Jesse Hahn of Kansas City ($ 222,222 each) and Milwaukee pitcher Freddy Peralta ($ 575,200).

"My first reaction was, wow, if we don't have any games this year, they will pay me the same amount that they pay Freddie Freeman, so that's great," Dayton said, referring to his teammate, a four-time first baseman. All-Star with a salary of $ 22 million, which was reduced to approximately $ 8.15 million. “I knew there was going to be a point where if we resumed games, they wouldn't pay me. And I agreed with that because we still receive significant amounts of money and we are fine. "

Each of the approximately 480 players with so-called "straight" contracts requiring a one-time salary received $ 286,500. The 769 players with "divided" contracts who have a lower salary in the minor leagues, generally a younger group who is not yet eligible for arbitration, earned $ 16,500, $ 30,000, or $ 60,000, depending on the level of payment of the minor leagues.

Dayton, who has spent parts of three seasons in the majors, has a $ 655,000 one-year contract. His prorated salary for the short season will be $ 242,593, assuming the contagion doesn't cause more games to be canceled.

The group will not have to return cash because the March agreement states that “in the event of a 2020 championship season, any amount advanced to individual players that clubs cannot recover by payroll deduction during the 2020 season for any reason will be reimbursed to the International Tax Fund clubs at the end of the 2020 season. "

That tax fund is money raised from teams that exceeded their specified bond pools to hire high-priced Latin American fans.

"We are blessed because we are receiving more money than the prorated amount," Dayton said.

Most of the group have relatively low salaries for players eligible for refereeing due to injuries that sidelined them and reduced their stats.

Nelson returned last June from shoulder surgery and limited himself to three starts and seven relief appearances.

McHugh missed the postseason and September with a sore right elbow and signed a deal with a $ 600,000 salary and $ 3.65 million in performance and roster bonuses.

Cotton, Dayton, Hahn and Stripling were interrupted by elbow surgery earlier in their careers, and González lost more than half of last season after breaking his clavicle.

Peralta has a low salary in 2020 as part of a five-year, $ 15.5 million contract that he agreed to in March.

Dayton was 0-1 with a 3.00 ERA in 14 relief appearances last year and 1-3 with a 3.34 ERA in 68 major league games that included time with the Dodgers in 2016-17. He wonders how he will do in refereeing next winter.

"It is going to be a weird year and a short season, but I guess they will have to treat it on paper as a real season, a championship season," he said. "And when it comes to contracts going forward, they're going to have to take the stats this year, which is kind of scary for a relief pitcher, to be honest because you have a bad game, it takes a whole year to get it back. Slow beginners can no longer be slow. "

Stripling, financial advisor to B. Riley Wealth Management when he wasn't playing baseball, brokered a $ 2.1 million deal in January, but he may have had $ 1.5 million designated as a signing bond, which is protected and not reduced. Only the $ 600,000 specified as wages in the contract is prorated.

"It will be strange not to receive money or paychecks throughout the year," he said. "I am grateful for my experience in finance, because I am comfortable with my ability to budget. I care about the other 10 guys in my situation. Technically you will receive zero income until next April. That is a long time to budget ahead" .

An option for players could be to license the money they are owed that the union had withheld.

"Our PA is offering a kind of stipend for men in similar situations," said Stripling. "But I don't know how much money or how often they can get it. It also comes from our & # 39; war chest & # 39 ;, which is money saved for wages in the event of a work stoppage in 2022. Most men will try to avoid taking money out of that unless you find yourself in difficult situations. ”

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