While Diamondbacks’ right-hander Ian Kennedy thinks his 10-game suspension “doesn’t make sense,” he is ready to accept his punishment.
Steve Gilbert of MLB.com reports that Kennedy has dropped the appeal of his suspension and will begin serving it tonight. Kennedy, who was handed the stiffest penalty for last week’s benches-clearing brawl with the Dodgers, initially appealed the suspension and tossed six innings of one-run ball yesterday against the Padres.
There is a strategic aspect to Kennedy’s decision, as he’ll effectively only end up missing one start. The Diamondbacks have scheduled off-days Thursday and next Monday, which gives them the ability to get by with four starters until Kennedy is eligible to return. The suspension isn’t an ideal situation for Arizona, as they may have to give three starts to Randall Delgado, but this isn’t the message MLB hoped they were sending.
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?