We’re one week into August and the major league leader in wins is Brewers right-hander Wily Peralta. That’s right, Wily Peralta.
Peralta held the Giants to one run over 6 2/3 innings this afternoon as part of a 3-1 victory at Miller Park in Milwaukee. In doing so, he became the first pitcher in MLB to reach 14 wins this season.
Peralta struck out a career-high nine batters in the victory. He gave up seven hits and walked one, with the only run scoring on a Hunter Pence RBI single in the fifth inning. That hit from Pence actually tied the game, but the Brewers took the lead back for good in the sixth against Jake Peavy with a ground-rule double from Khris Davis and a sacrifice fly from Mark Reynolds.
Peralta, 25, is now 14-6 with a 3.42 ERA and 108/41 K/BB ratio over 144 2/3 innings this season. Johnny Cueto, Madison Bumgarner, Adam Wainwright, Clayton Kershaw, Rick Porcello, and Max Scherzer are all currently stuck on 13 wins. Weather-permitting, Wainwright could tie Peralta tonight if he beats the Red Sox.
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?