World Series Reset: Can the Giants even things up?


source: AP

The Game: World Series Game 4. Kansas City Royals lead San Francisco Giants 2-1
The Time: 8:07 PM Eastern
The Place: AT&T Park, San Francisco, California
The Channel: Fox
The Starters: Jason Vargas vs. Ryan Vogelsong
The Upshot: After losing Game 1, the Royals have responded with two straight victories to grab a lead in the series. Can the Giants answer? That’s the big question going into Game 4. While there was some speculation about Madison Bumgarner potentially getting the start on short rest, Giants manager Bruce Bochy will stick with Ryan Vogelsong for the assignment. But you can bet that we’ll see Yusmiero Petit at some point. He has thrown nine scoreless innings this postseason, including six in the 18-inning game against the Nationals during the NLDS and three in relief of Vogelsong during the NLCS. You could make the case that he’s a better option to start, so the leash will likely be short if Vogelsong is shaky early. As for the Royals, they’ll go with Vargas, who has gone 10 days since his last start. He has gotten into the sixth inning with a lead in each of his two postseason starts and Ned Yost would be thrilled to see it happen again. Kelvin Herrera has thrown 59 pitches over the past three days, so it will be interesting to see whether he’ll be available again tonight. Even if he is, one wonders how effective he’ll be. If the Royals make it three straight, they could wrap up the series tomorrow night.

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?