From Jon Heyman of CBS Sports comes word that the Orioles have avoided arbitration with right-handed starting pitcher Miguel Gonzalez by agreeing to a one-year, $3.275 million deal for the 2015 season.
Gonzalez asked the O’s for $3.95 million and was offered $2.5 million when arbitration figures were exchanged on January 16. The two sides agreed to a figure that was slightly in favor of Gonzalez’s filing.
Gonzalez, 30, posted a 3.23 ERA, 1.296 WHIP, and 111/51 K/BB ratio in 159 innings last season for the American League East champs. He was arbitration-eligible for the first time in his career and is under contractual control with the O’s through 2017.
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?