The hope was that Derek Holland would be cleared for a minor league rehab assignment if he showed enough progress with his surgically-repaired left knee during a workout today, but Rangers manager Ron Washington told Travis L. Brown of ESPN Dallas that he’s not ready yet.
Holland underwent microfracture knee surgery back in January. The final hurdle for a rehab assignment appears to be fielding his position. While the southpaw thinks he’s ready to pitch in games right now, he admitted that his leg was stiff today while covering first base and fielding bunts.
“I guess it just wasn’t as good,” Holland said. “It was their opinion. I’m going to go by them. They want to make sure everything is right. I do, too. I want it to be a one-time thing. I don’t want this to be a thing that I have to go back on the DL. I want to get it right the first time.”
Holland will focus on strengthening his leg for now and will be re-evaluated in two weeks. Washington doesn’t expect him to join the team’s rotation until after the All-Star break.
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?