After bouncing back and forth between Triple-A and Baltimore all season Kevin Gausman will finally get an extended stay in the Orioles’ rotation because of an injury, as the team placed Ubaldo Jimenez on the disabled list with a sprained ankle and announced that Gausman will replace him in the rotation.
Jimenez apparently injured his ankle in the parking lot Wednesday, as manager Buck Showalter explained to Brittany Ghiroli of MLB.com:
He stepped in a hole in the parking lot. We were looking at it today. It’s pretty puffy, taped up. He tried to take a work day yesterday. We were hoping that it would resolve somewhat today, it did not and he’s not going to be able to start tomorrow.
“He stepped in a hole in the parking lot” is a new one, as far as weird injuries go.
Jimenez has been a huge disappointment in the first season of a four-year, $50 million contract, going 3-8 with a 4.52 ERA and league-high 60 walks in 100 innings. Gausman, meanwhile, has a 3.51 ERA in six starts and the former No. 4 overall pick in the 2012 draft has looked ready to emerge as a front-line starter.
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?