The Phillies are working to trade Ryan Howard. Good luck with that!

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At times like these I’m always inspired to post one of my favorite tweets ever:

It seems so long ago. And it may as well be. Buster Olney reports today that the Phillies themselves are trying to make that history this winter:

Ryan Howard has had his last at-bat as a member of the Philadelphia Phillies.

That’s what the Phillies hope, anyway. That’s their goal, according to rival executives . . . The mantra on Howard appears to be: He is priced to move.

Olney reports that the only possible targets are AL teams where he could DH and play occasional first base. I mean, get this line from an anonymous source in there: “He’s Adam Dunn, although Adam Dunn is probably a better defender at this point than he is.”

Ouch.

Howard is owed $50 million for 2015 and 2016 and either a $23 million 2017 option or a $10 million buyout. So let’s call it $6o million over three years. Of course, if we’ve learned one thing in the past few years it’s that no one is untradeable. Vernon Wells was dealt. Alex Rios. Dunn. There are bad contracts attached to washed up players that can and do get moved.

But it’s not like the Phillies aren’t going to be paying most of Howard’s deal. And it’s not like they can expect a lot in return for Howard. Mostly it’d be a page-turning deal. A signal to the team and the parts of the fan base that are still living in 2008 that the team is fully committed to rebuilding.

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?