Joel Hanrahan exited Monday night’s game with a strained forearm and the Red Sox have placed him on the disabled list. Manager John Farrell has already said that Junichi Tazawa, not Koji Uehara, will serve as the fill-in closer with both Hanrahan and Andrew Bailey on the shelf.
And to add another arm to the pitching staff the Red Sox called up prospect Allen Webster, who made his MLB debut on April 21 with a Quality Start against the Royals before being optioned back to the minors. He’ll start Wednesday versus the Twins, which means left-hander Felix Doubront is headed to the bullpen–perhaps only temporarily–after posting a 5.67 ERA through five starts.
Webster, a hard-throwing right-hander who was acquired from the Dodgers as part of last year’s Adrian Gonzalez/Carl Crawford blockbuster, ranked as a top 50 prospect according to Baseball America and was off to a strong start at Triple-A. Doubront had a solid first full season for Boston last year, throwing 161 innings with a 4.86 ERA and 167 strikeouts, but has struggled to consistently throw strikes.
Oh, and Alfredo Aceves remains at Triple-A.
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?