In news that was all but inevitable, the Braves confirmed today that right-hander Brandon Beachy will undergo season-ending Tommy John reconstructive elbow surgery tomorrow. The procedure will be performed by Dr. Neal ElAttache in Los Angeles.
Like teammate Kris Medlen, who went under the knife earlier this week, this will be the second Tommy John surgery of Beachy’s career. However, while Medlen went 3 1/2 years between procedures, this will be Beachy’s second in the span of 21 months.
Beachy posted an excellent 3.07 ERA over his first 41 starts in the majors prior to his first Tommy John surgery in June of 2012, which was performed by Dr. James Andrews. There’s been nothing but frustration since. His return to the majors last season was delayed due to elbow inflammation and he made just five starts prior to having a bone chip removed in late September. Now the 27-year-old faces another lengthy rehab process which will likely sideline him through the early part of next season. Here’s hoping he can still deliver on some of that early promise.
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?