The Mariners are really interested in Hanley Ramirez and Victor Martinez

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Two reports which, if there are some teeth to them and someone acts on them, could really get the offseason rolling in a hurry: The Seattle Mariners are reportedly interested in both Hanley Ramirez and Victor Martinez.

Ken Rosenthal reports that Martinez is believed to be the Mariners top priority this winter. Rosenthal also reported that the M’s were interested in Ramirez, but Bob Nightengale of USA Today goes farther, saying that the Mariners are “aggressively pursuing” him.

Martinez is coming off a career year and is 35-years-old, seeking a four-year deal. Ramirez will likely cost $100 million or more and has become a defensive liability at shortstop. So, yes, both of those guys present some risk. However, Ramirez has shown a willingness to play elsewhere — third base seems like a natural fit — and given how close Seattle came to a playoff spot in 2014 and that they have a still-in-his-prime Robinson Cano, the team is certainly in win-now mode.

Plug in Martinez’s and Ramirez’s bats next to Cano and Kyle Seager in the lineup, endure Ramirez at shortstop for a while and worry about the defense down the road (or move Ramirez to DH eventually) and the M’s could be really, really interesting. Expensive and carrying high expectations to be sure, but certainly interesting.

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?