Thomas Harding of MLB.com reports that the Rockies are targeting free agent right-handers Kevin Correia, Aaron Harang, and Kyle Kendrick as they continue their search for veteran starting pitching. Harding also mentioned Josh Johnson as a possibility, though he’s reportedly on the verge of re-signing with the Padres.
Nothing is considered imminent with any of the pitchers listed above, as the Rockies are also considering trade options. It was reported last week that the club had talked to the Mets about a deal for right-hander Dillon Gee, but Harding writes that “thus far there have been more published reports than actual discussions.”
As of now, the Rockies have Jorge De La Rosa, Jhoulys Chacin, Tyler Matzek, and Jordan Lyles lined up for the first four spots in their starting rotation for 2015. That’s a shaky group. Adding Correia, Kendrick, or a fly ball pitcher like Harang wouldn’t inspire much more in the way of confidence.
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?