The Giants didn’t have a whole lot worth celebrating in Saturday night’s 17-0 blowout loss to the visiting Dodgers, but there was a pretty cool moment in the top of the seventh inning …
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As the Giants’ broadcast team said, that was the first time in major league history that a father had brought in his son from the bullpen, and you can see that Bruce Bochy couldn’t help but smile. Brett Bochy walked the first batter he faced — giving the Dodgers their 15th run — and then allowed a Scott Van Slyke solo home run in the eighth. Brett, a 20th-round pick in 2010, was called up from Triple-A Fresno on September 2.
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?