Baseball announces the Roberto Clemente Award nominees

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The Roberto Clemente Award goes to the Major Leaguer who “best exemplifies the game of baseball, sportsmanship, community involvement and the individual’s contribution to his team.” David Ortiz won it last year.  The 2012 nominees — one per team — were just announced and are listed below.

One complaint first. It’s the same complaint I lodge every year. Baseball has set up a fan voting aspect to this. Which makes no sense because (a) I can see no way which your average fan can gauge a player’s community involvement, either quantitatively or qualitatively; and (b) if they can’t, it’s just a fan popularity vote, which shouldn’t be a part of an award that is about something like community involvement.

All we can hope is that baseball makes the fan voting component a tiny, tiny part of it. Anyway:

Arizona Diamondbacks – Willie Bloomquist
Atlanta Braves – Tim Hudson
Baltimore Orioles – Jim Johnson
Boston Red Sox – Jon Lester
Chicago Cubs – David DeJesus
Chicago White Sox – Jake Peavy
Cincinnati Reds – Todd Frazier
Cleveland Indians – Jason Kipnis
Colorado Rockies – Michael Cuddyer
Detroit Tigers – Miguel Cabrera
Houston Astros – Wesley Wright
Kansas City Royals – Alex Gordon
Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim – C.J. Wilson
Los Angeles Dodgers – Clayton Kershaw
Miami Marlins – Logan Morrison
Milwaukee Brewers – Rickie Weeks
Minnesota Twins – Justin Morneau
New York Mets – Johan Santana
New York Yankees – Mark Teixeira
Oakland Athletics – Brandon McCarthy
Philadelphia Phillies – Jimmy Rollins
Pittsburgh Pirates – Chris Resop
St. Louis Cardinals – Matt Holliday
San Diego Padres – Luke Gregerson
San Francisco Giants – Matt Cain
Seattle Mariners – Felix Hernandez
Tampa Bay Rays – David Price
Texas Rangers – Michael Young
Toronto Blue Jays – Ricky Romero
Washington Nationals – Ryan Zimmerman

The Royals are paying everyone. Why can’t all of the other teams?

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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?