Diamondbacks name Ian Kennedy as Opening Day starter

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According to the Associated Press, Diamondbacks manager Kirk Gibson announced today that right-hander Ian Kennedy will get the ball on Opening Day against the Cardinals on April 1.

The choice doesn’t come as a big surprise, as this will be Kennedy’s third straight Opening Day assignment. The 28-year-old right-hander went 15-12 with a 4.02 ERA and 187/55 K/BB ratio over 208 1/3 innings last season.

Gibson also announced today that Kennedy will be followed in the rotation by Trevor Cahill, Wade Miley and Brandon McCarthy. Randall Delgado, Patrick Corbin and Tyler Skaggs are currently competing for the fifth spot.

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?