Major League Baseball's rosters may be frozen due to the novel coronavirus delaying the season, but that isn't stopping organizations from trimming their ranks on the minor-league side. Beginning this week and extending through next week, teams are collectively expected to release hundreds of minor leaguers, according to ESPN's Jeff Passan, with most organizations cutting somewhere between 30 and 50 players.
In a typical year, teams release a dozen or more players heading into the season as a means of clearing space and giving those who were waived a chance to latch on elsewhere. To say the least, this has not been a typical year. The spread of COVID-19 caused the league to shut down weeks before the start of the season, leaving teams with larger rosters than they would have otherwise had at this point in the year.
Still, there are other circumstances at play behind these roster culls. Here are three contributing factors to know about, and how they're likely to affect the future of minor-league baseball.
1. There likely won't be MiLB season
We may as well start with the obvious point, right?
There's little to no chance of a minor-league season taking place this year. Don't get us wrong: teams might host a modified instructional league later in the year, but that's about the extent of it. (Heck, some clubs have already furloughed player-development types, too.)