The Padres will be without third baseman Chase Headley and outfielder Carlos Quentin for Friday night’s contest against the Dodgers. Jordan Littman of U-T San Diego reports that Headley is having his back examined (he received an epidural), and Quentin is suffering soreness in his left knee. Alexi Amarista gets the start at third base and will bat seventh, and Seth Smith is starting in left field, batting third.
Headley, 30, was on the disabled list between late April and mid-May with a strained left calf. He suffered from back soreness in each of the last two seasons. A free agent after the season, Headley is having a forgettable season, slashing .200/.283/.333 with six home runs and 23 RBI in 219 plate appearances.
Quentin, 31, first experienced soreness in his left knee late in spring training and began the season on the disabled list. He did not make his season debut until May 13. Quentin had surgery to remove loose bodies in his right knee last July. He, too, is having a poor year offensively, slashing .192/.302/.342 with three home runs and eight RBI in 86 plate appearances.
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?