Yankees designate catcher Austin Romine for assignment

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Sweeny Murti of WFAN reports the Yankees have designated catcher Austin Romine for assignment. This means that John Ryan Murphy will serve as Brian McCann’s backup this season.

A former top-100 prospect, the 26-year-old Romine struggled in Triple-A last season and batted just .182 (6-for-33) with one double and a .441 OPS over 18 games during Grapefruit League action. He entered this spring out of options, so the Yankees couldn’t send him to Triple-A without exposing him to waivers.

Murphy was No. 3 on the depth chart last season, but he was the favorite to backup McCann after Francisco Cervelli was traded to the Pirates over the winter. The 23-year-old batted .280/.318/.370 across 85 plate appearances with the Bombers in 2014.

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?