Scenes from the Gwinnett Stripers preseason party on Sunday, March 8.

The coronavirus pandemic is decimating minor league baseball, with "hundreds" of players released on Thursday and hundreds more expecting the same fate, ESPN's Jeff Passan reported.

Passan said the minor league baseball season, which is shorter than the MLB season, is widely expected to be canceled as Major League Baseball attempts to wrangle the financial damage from COVID-19.

"Across baseball, hundreds of minor league players were cut today and lost their jobs, sources tell ESPN. Hundreds more will be released over the next week. In the end, upward of 1,000 players could see their baseball careers end. The minor leagues have simply been devastated," Passan wrote in the first of a string of tweets on Thursday.

The moves were not customary roster-trimming, as Passan pointed out.

"In normal years, cuts happen but not en masse like this. The fallout from the coronavirus, expected minor league contraction and the anticipated cancellation of the 2020 minor league season prompted organizations each to release dozens of players, who were being paid $400 a week," he wrote.

Several teams informed minor-league players they would be paid through the month of June without guarantees after that.

MLB denied reports last month that 40 minor league teams would be eliminated in a massive restructuring of the system. But the ongoing fiscal challenges and escalating drama between MLB players and owners could impact minor-leaguers.

Major League Baseball made a record $10.7 billion in revenue in 2019, according to Forbes.

--Field Level Media

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