Tigers will watch Matt Albers throw next week

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Detroit’s bullpen posted a combined 4.29 ERA during the 2014 regular season, ranking 27th in the major leagues. Offseason additions Tom Gorzelanny and Alex Wilson should help turn that around a little in 2015, and so should the return of fire-baller Bruce Rondon. But some depth would be nice.

Anthony Fenech of the Detroit Free Press reports that the Tigers have RSVP’d to watch free agent right-hander Matt Albers pitch in front of interested teams February 10 (next Tuesday) in the Houston area.

Albers was limited to eight appearances last season with the Astros due to a shoulder injury, but the 32-year-old is feeling healthier now and will try to show teams that he can again be a useful bullpen piece. Albers posted a 2.77 ERA in 123 1/3 innings for the Red Sox, Diamondbacks, and Indians between 2012-2013.

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?