Aramis Ramirez may exercise his half of a mutual option to return to the Brewers


The Brewers exercised their half of a $14 million mutual option on Aramis Ramirez for the 2015 season on Friday, which meant that the third baseman gets three days to decide if he will exercise his half or decline and become a free agent. Ramirez still has two more days left, but Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports that it’s “possible” that the veteran will return to the Brewers according to his agent Paul Kinzer.

Kinzer says that comfort is a priority for Ramirez, and that if the third baseman does become a free agent, he wouldn’t be looking for a deal longer than two years.

Ramirez, 36, had his worst offensive showing since the 2010 season, though he still had above-average numbers with a .285/.330/.427 slash line, 15 home runs, and 66 RBI. He missed a few weeks between mid-May and early June with a strained right hamstring, but isn’t considered to be much of an injury risk.

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?