Cubs sign rehabbing Scott Baker to one-year deal

5 Comments

Scott Baker’s comeback from Tommy John surgery will take place in Chicago, as the Cubs announced that they’ve signed the rehabbing right-hander to a one-year deal. Patrick Mooney of CSNChicago.com reports that the contract is worth $5.5 million in guaranteed money, with another $1.5 million in potential incentives.

Baker has spent his entire career with the Twins after being a second-round pick in 2003, emerging as a solid mid-rotation starter with excellent strikeout-to-walk ratios and questionable durability. He missed all of this year following elbow surgery and is no sure thing to be ready for Opening Day, but if healthy he should provide good value.

Baker had a 3.14 ERA and 123/32 K/BB ratio in 135 innings in 2011, giving him a 3.98 ERA in 134 starts since joining the Twins’ rotation full time in 2007.

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

Getty Images
1 Comment

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?