Justin Verlander’s return to the Tigers doesn’t appear imminent. He had to cut a simulated game short on Wednesday due to fatigue and James Schmehl of MLive.com reports that he continued to complain of soreness in his throwing arm today. The Tigers now plan to slow things down with him:
“We expected him to be sore the next day,” Tigers manager Brad Ausmus said Sunday. “But two days later, we expected he’d have recovered better.”
The Tigers expected Verlander to be sore today after having thrown a 35-pitch bullpen followed by a 45-pitch simulated game Wednesday in Pittsburgh. But it appears the degree of soreness remains a cause for concern for the Tigers.
“We’re going to slow him down,” Ausmus said. “He’s a little more sore the second day than we’d planned, so we’re going to slow him down a little bit.”
Verlander landed on the disabled list for the first time in his career this month due to triceps soreness, but the hope was that he would be able to make his season debut on April 21 against the Yankees. That possibility has already been ruled out. He could do some light throwing tomorrow if he feels good, but he’s still a ways from joining the Tigers.
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?