The Rangers have activated pitcher Derek Holland from the disabled list, Stefan Stevens of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports. Holland is slated to start on Tuesday in Kansas City against the Royals. Mike Carp has been designated for assignment. Pitcher Nick Tepesch has been optioned to Triple-A Round Rock “for paperwork reasons”; he’s still scheduled to start on Wednesday. Rosters will expand on Monday. The Rangers have also recalled pitcher Robbie Ross.
Holland underwent microfracture knee surgery in January when his dog tripped him on the stairs in his home. When the lefty makes his 2014 debut, he’ll become the 60th player to play for the Rangers this season, which will set a major league record.
Carp struggled in 46 plate appearances for the Rangers after he was picked up on a waiver claim from the Red Sox on August 3. He slashed .125/.217/.125 with zero home runs and four RBI.
Aside from an ugly start against the Royals on August 23, Tepesch has shown improvement in the second half, posting a 3.72 ERA in his last six starts. It would have been odd if the Rangers had demoted him for any other reason.
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?