Giants leading Royals 1-0 early in Game 4 of the World Series


Giants starter Ryan Vogelsong breezed through the top of the first inning on 13 pitches, and then the offense got to work. Gregor Blanco worked a lead-off walk, then advanced to second base on a wild pitch. After Joe Panik popped out, Blanco swiped third base, setting up an easy run-scoring opportunity for Buster Posey.

Royals lefty Jason Vargas pitched to Posey carefully, however, ultimately walking him to bring up Hunter Pence with a potential rally-ending double play possibility. Pence indeed hit into what looked to be an inning-ending 5-4-3 double play, but was just quick enough to beat the throw to first base, allowing Blanco to score the game’s first run. Vargas was able to get out of the inning by striking out Pablo Sandoval on his 27th pitch.

Vogelsong had a slightly tougher top of the second as rain began to fall at AT&T Park in San Francisco, but he worked around a two-out single by Salvador Perez. He’s thrown a total of 28 pitches.

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?