Albert Pujols to pay salaries of furloughed Angels staff in the Dominican Republic
The Angels stopped paying their employees in the Dominican Republic this month. Those employees are being paid again, only not by the club.
First baseman Albert Pujols will cover the salaries of the Angels’ furloughed staff members in the Dominican Republic for roughly five months, an amount that totals $180,000, said a person familiar with the situation who was not authorized to publicly comment on Thursday.
Earlier this month, the Angels made arguably the most severe budget cuts in Major League Baseball. They furloughed all area scouts in amateur and international departments, members of their player development staff and minor league coaches and coordinators. They were planning to furlough cross-checkers but reversed course this week when MLB lifted a ban on in-person scouting.
The Angels’ operations in the Dominican Republic were hit hard. Nearly all staff based at the team’s academy in Boca Chica, which is where most international prospects begin their professional careers, were temporarily removed from the payroll. One person who spoke on the condition of anonymity estimated about 90% of employees were affected.
The latest proposal in negotiations to start the 2020 MLB season came two days after the owners thought they had a deal for a 60-game season.
There is no timeline in place for the resumption of minor league operations, which means it is impossible to know at what point the Angels will feel comfortable bringing employees back from furlough. They set up a $1-million employee assistance fund in the spring to help their affected employees bridge the gap.
Pujols decided to contribute after asking general manager Billy Eppler how much it would cost to pay the salaries of the team’s employees in the Dominican Republic, a person with knowledge of the conversation said.
The 40-year-old first baseman earned approximately $285 million in salary by the end of 2019, according to Baseball Reference. He signed a 10-year, $240-million contract with the Angels in December 2011 and was scheduled to earn $29 million in 2020 before the coronavirus pandemic postponed the baseball schedule.
Pujols, a native of the Dominican Republic, is not the first baseball star in the Los Angeles area to fill a financial void. David Price of the Dodgers pledged $1,000 to each Dodgers minor league player for the month of June after the team committed to continue paying them a $400 weekly stipend during the same period.
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