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Pirates lay off more staffers, this time in baseball operations

Jason Mackey, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette on

Published in Baseball

PITTSBURGH -- A day after more than two dozen layoffs on the business side, the Pirates turned their attention to baseball operations, reshaping the department under new general manager Ben Cherington.

Multiple sources told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette on Friday that the Pirates had "laid off" around 15 people involved with baseball -- from those providing hitting and pitching instruction in the minor leagues to others who were involved in scouting and even in the Dominican Republic.

The move was made now to allow those affected to figure out the next steps in their careers. The Pirates will pay salaries through Oct. 31 and benefits through the end of the calendar year.

Similar to Thursday, the move was something the Pirates expected to do -- but not nearly this soon. The lack of revenue coming in and the fact that there almost assuredly won't be a minor league season in 2020 forced their hand.

Cherington has talked for months about observing the way the Pirates do things, learning and eventually figuring out what to tweak and adjust, although he has never specifically mentioned laying people off.

Since Cherington was hired, the Pirates added what the GM referred to as "bandwidth" on the informatics side, increasing some of the quantitative work this group has been able to do.

COVID-19 has wreaked havoc on the Pirates from a financial perspective.

 

Before laying off more than 40 people over the past two days, the organization suspended 401(k) contributions in April. A month later, it furloughed 20% of the employee base outside of baseball operations and also instituted tiered pay cuts.

Members of the executive leadership team took voluntary pay cuts starting in April, but a lack of baseball has meant a lack of income and the Pirates, as a small-market team, have been hit harder than most.

The Pirates have committed to paying their minor league players through July, according to a source, and anticipate doing so through the end of the season. With the minor league season unlikely to happen, those guys have been receiving a $400/week stipend.

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