Marlins willing to trade pitching to address other needs

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MLB.com’s Joe Frisaro reports that the Marlins are willing to trade some of their young, controllable pitchers to fill other areas of need. Thus far, though, nothing has felt like the “right deal” to Michael Hill, Marlins president of baseball operations.

Of their six arbitration-eligible players, five are pitchers: Mike Dunn, Steve Cishek, Aaron Crow, Nathan Eovaldi, and Henderson Alvarez. Scores more have yet to accrue enough service time to become arbitration-eligible, such as Tom Koehler. For mid-market teams who won’t even bother to deign interest in top free agent arms like Max Scherzer and Jon Lester, the Marlins certainly look like an attractive trading partner with which to find a pitching upgrade.

Frisaro adds that, following the history-making contract extension with outfielder Giancarlo Stanton, the Marlins have also broached extending Jose Fernandez, Marcell Ozuna, Christian Yelich, and Adeiny Hechavarria. Each in the quartet has yet to become eligible for arbitration, meaning they will not hit free agency until 2019 at the earliest.

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?