Josh Reddick perplexed by the Josh Donaldson trade

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Athletics outfielder Josh Reddick doesn’t understand why the Athletics decided to trade third baseman Josh Donaldson to the Blue Jays. Via Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle:

Reddick is correct, of course. Via FanGraphs, the 14.1 WAR Donaldson compiled since the start of the 2013 season vastly eclipses anyone else on the Athletics. Jed Lowrie comes in second at 5.4 and Reddick is third at 5.0. Donaldson gets the business aspect of the game, which ultimately led to his being traded:

Reddick said that it’s clear to him and his teammates that the Athletics are rebuilding. This is par for the course for the Athletics, however. So far this off-season, they’ve signed Billy Butler and Ike Davis, and now they’ve traded away Donaldson. They’re expected to pursue more trades, particularly one involving Brandon Moss. The team we saw barely lose the American League Wild Card game to the Royals could look a lot different when pitchers and catchers report in February.

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?