Mike Remlinger’s attempt to sell Sammy Sosa’s corked bat from 2003 failed yesterday when the reserve price he’d set wasn’t met during an auction in which the high bid was $14,407.
Naturally, now Sosa says he’s “shocked” that his former Cubs teammate would do such a thing. Well, technically his “spokesperson” said it, but presumably Sosa told her to do so.
Remlinger explained that he tried to contact Sosa and return the bat to him, but never heard back and decided to auction it off. Sosa claims he was never contacted by Remlinger, although in fairness someone who makes statements to the media through a spokesperson seems more likely to not be aware every attempt people make to contact him.
“If he needed the money, he should have just asked me for some money,” Sosa said via his spokesperson. Remlinger earned around $20 million during his 15-season career in the majors.
UPDATE: Remlinger has decided to sell the bat for the $14,407 bid that didn’t meet the original reserve price. The buyer is Grant DePorter, who’s the CEO of Harry Caray’s Restaurant Group and plans to display the bat first at Harry Caray’s Restaurant and then at the Chicago Sports Museum. Sosa is thrilled, I’m sure.
Over the past several weeks we’ve heard a lot of news about teams furloughing front office and scouting staff, leveling pay cuts for those who remain and, most recently, ceasing stipends to minor league players and releasing them en masse. The message being sent, intentionally or otherwise, is that baseball teams are feeling the pinch.
The Kansas City Royals, however, are a different story.
Jon Heyman reported this afternoon that the Royals are paying their minor leaguers through August 31, which is when the minor league season would’ve ended, and unlike so many other teams, they are not releasing players either. Jeff Passan, meanwhile, reports that the Royals will not lay any team employees off or furlough anyone. “Nearly 150 employees will not take pay cuts,” he says, though “higher-level employees will take tiered cuts.” Passan adds that the organization intends to restore the lost pay due to those higher-level employees in the future when revenue ramps back up, making them whole.
While baseball finances are murky at best and opaque in most instances, most people agree that the Royals are one of the lower-revenue franchises in the game. They are also near the bottom as far as franchise value goes. Finally, they have the newest ownership group in all of baseball, which means that the group almost certainly has a lot of debt and very little if any equity in the franchise. Any way you slice it, cashflow is likely tighter in Kansas City than almost anywhere else.
Yet the Royals are paying minor leaguers and front office employees while a great number of other teams are not. What’s their excuse?