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September 30, 2020

Report: Phillies expected to make ‘inevitable’ layoffs to full-time employees

The reduction in staff will happen “in the near future,” team executives said in an email.

Phillies MLB
phillies employees layoffs buyouts Thom Carroll/For PhillyVoice

With no fans coming through the ticket gates at Citizens Bank Park, the Phillies have lost more than $145 million this year.

It appears that Phillies’ general manager Matt Klentak might not be the only member of the organization who could lose his or her job very soon.

Team executives sent out an email informing all full-time employees that a round of layoffs is “inevitable and will happen in the near future,” according to The Athletic.

Buyouts are being offered to many employees who do not work in baseball operations, as most baseball officials are under contract and not eligible. 

The Phillies previously offered full-time employees a $10,000 lump-sum payment, as well as one week’s pay for every year of employment and subsidized health-care benefits. The lump-sum payment has now been increased to $1,000 for each year of employment — ranging from $10,000-$30,000.

The severance for laid-off workers is one week’s pay for every year of employment and a payment between $1,250-$5,000 depending on one’s salary.

“The economic climate is unprecedented and the past losses, coupled with significant projected losses in the future, make this approach unavoidable,” team president Andy MacPhail and executive vice president Dave Buck wrote in an email to full-time employees. “You should be aware that while other clubs have already unilaterally reduced their workforces by a significant percentage, the Phillies have undertaken a more generous approach with the voluntary separation offer as the first step.”

“It is important for you to understand that we will not be increasing the voluntary separation offer again, and we will not be negotiating with individual employees,” the email continued.

Staffing in player development, scouting, and research and development could see cutbacks as soon as November once contracts terminate at the end of October.

The Athletic previously reported that the organization had begun offering buyouts to full-time employees earlier this month.

It’s unclear right now how many jobs will be cut, as the team employs roughly 500 full-time workers. The Phillies were required by law to give employees a 45-day notice of potential layoffs, which the organization pledged it would not impose before the end of October.

Many full-time employees volunteered to serve as security guards at the ballpark this season while their normal job responsibilities were put on hold.

The Phillies will not be alone in implementing cutbacks to its workforce, as MLB teams have not been spared from the financial impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. The layoffs will come on the heels of a 2020 season where no fans were permitted at ballparks for games.

With no fans coming through the ticket gates at Citizens Bank Park, the Phillies have lost more than $145 million this year.

Managing partner John Middleton and the Buck Family infused $100 million of their own money earlier this year to keep the organization afloat amid the public health crisis.

Unless widespread distribution of a COVID-19 vaccine takes place ahead of the 2021 season, the Phillies are projecting a similar financial outlook for next year. It could result in promotional giveaways being cut back or eliminated if a limited number of fans can attend games next season.

The organization is also coming off a season in which it had the largest payroll in team history at $208 million. The team has several key players who can become free agents this offseason, including catcher J.T. Realmuto and shortstop Didi Gregorius.

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