Angels’ rebuilt bullpen adds left-hander Sean Burnett on two-year, $8 million contract

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They still need plenty of rotation help, but the Angels have added another late-inning option to their bullpen. Alden Gonzalez of MLB.com reports that they’ve signed left-hander Sean Burnett to a two-year deal with an option for 2015.

Burnett joins Ryan Madson in a new-look bullpen after spending the past three-and-a-half seasons in Washington, where he was quietly one of the most effective southpaw relievers in baseball with a 2.81 ERA and 172/66 K/BB ratio in 202 innings.

He figures to join right-hander Ernesto Frieri as Madson’s primary setup men and the Angels suddenly have a very deep, talented bullpen with guys like Kevin Jepsen and Scott Downs slated for secondary setup roles.

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UPDATE, 6:15 PM: It’s a two-year, $8 million contract, according to Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times. And it comes with $1.25 million in incentives based on games pitched and a $4.5 million vesting option (or $500,000 buyout) for the 2015 season.

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?