Ubaldo Jimenez was a mess last season, losing his rotation spot and immediately making the Orioles regret signing him to a four-year, $50 million deal.
But at the team’s fan fest event he seemed optimistic about turning things around:
I can’t wait. Whatever happened in 2014 is in the past. There’s nothing I can do about it now. I can just look forward and now I’m going to do everything in spring training to get myself ready the best I can for the season and help the team.
Jimenez also said all the right things about continuing to work on his mechanics with the coaching staff and not worrying about his role:
My mechanics are not the mechanics you’re used to seeing every day with other pitchers. It takes a little bit more time, a little bit more hard work to get it going. I keep repeating it. The last couple–two or three–years I’ve been dealing with injuries, talking about leg-wise. Last year, I had the ankle problem, so that makes it a little more difficult to get it going.
It’s worth noting that Jimenez was already performing terribly and in danger of losing his rotation spot by the time he injured his ankle, but the stuff about his mechanics being a little trickier for a coaching staff to work with certainly seems valid.
Also worth noting: Jimenez had a 4.85 ERA in 125 innings for the Orioles and dating back to 2011 he has a 4.52 ERA in 673 total innings.
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?