The Braves bolstered their suddenly shaky rotation earlier this week when they signed right-hander Ervin Santana to a one-year, $14.1 million contract, but general manager Frank Wren told FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal this morning via phone that he isn’t planning to add another starter even with Kris Medlen and Brandon Beachy potentially headed for another Tommy John surgery.
“Right now, we plan on going with what we have,” Wren said. “We like what we have.”
Which means the Braves appear content relying on Julio Teheran, Freddy Garcia, Alex Wood, and David Hale to hold down the fort for now. The hope is that Santana will be game-ready by the time the Braves need a fifth starter for the first time. Mike Minor, who had a urinary tract procedure in late December and dealt with shoulder soreness upon reporting to camp, could be ready to join the rotation by mid-April.
There should be more help on the way soon. Gavin Floyd, who signed a one-year, $4 million deal with the Braves over the winter, is currently working his way back from Tommy John surgery and flexor tendon surgery. Wren said he has been “extremely impressive” during his rehab and could join the rotation in mid-May.
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?