Jose Bautista is back in the Blue Jays’ lineup

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Out of the starting lineup since June 22 with a hamstring injury, Jose Bautista is starting at designated hitter for the Blue Jays this afternoon against the Brewers.

Bautista appeared as a pinch-hitter Sunday, but manager John Gibbons still wants to play it a little safe by keeping him out of right field for at least one more day. That means usual designated hitter Adam Lind will sit versus Marco Estrada despite batting .378 off right-handed pitchers this season.

Bautista is leading the American League in All-Star votes with nearly five million and also leads the league in walks and on-base percentage while hitting .304 with 15 homers and a .956 OPS in 78 games.

The Royals are paying everyone. Why can’t all of the other teams?

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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?