On Saturday, the slumping Rockies embarrassed themselves when they allowed the Brewers to score three runs on a wild pitch and en error on the same play. Things haven’t been going so well for the Rockies, as they entered Sunday’s series finale against the Brewers on a five-game losing streak and with a 7-18 record in their last 25 games dating back to May 25.
The embarrassment continued. The Rockies fell 6-5 to the Brewers for their sixth consecutive loss and second consecutive series sweep. They could have potentially won if outfielder Corey Dickerson didn’t run himself into an out in the ninth inning. Dickerson tripled to lead off the inning. Brewers outfielder Carlos Gomez made a poor throw to Aramis Ramirez at third base and the ball skipped away towards the visitors’ dugout. Dickerson had a free stroll home, but he tripped halfway down the line and was easily tagged at home plate for the first out of the inning. The next batter, Wilin Rosario, homered to make it a 6-5 game. It might have been a game-tying homer if Dickerson hadn’t stumbled.
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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?