It’s been a rough day for the A’s starting rotation, as expected Opening Day starter Jarrod Parker and A.J. Griffin are both headed for the disabled list to begin the season.
Parker has a forearm injury and Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle reports that he’s traveling to Alabama on Monday to be examined by Dr. James Andrews, which is every fans least favorite thing to hear. Griffin has an elbow injury and Slusser says he’s being examined today in Arizona by a different doctor.
Parker and Griffin both had similar arm issues late last season, and Parker has already come back from Tommy John elbow surgery once. Jesse Chavez and Tommy Milone are the likely rotation replacements and Sonny Gray might get the Opening Day assignment with just 10 regular season starts to his name.
And now the A’s will hope that Parker and Griffin don’t follow Braves starters Kris Medlen and Brandon Beachy in being eligible for 2-for-1 surgeries.
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?