Tigers right-hander Justin Verlander had to cut a simulated game short last Wednesday and he’s currently in shutdown mode due to continued soreness in his throwing arm. While Tigers manager Brad Ausmus said yesterday that there were no plans for Verlander to undergo further tests, team trainer Kevin Rand told James Schmehl of MLive.com today that he actually had an MRI last Thursday which confirmed the original diagnosis of a right triceps strain.
Verlander didn’t undergo an MRI after initially suffering the injury in late March, but Rand defended the decision by saying that they “waited until we felt we needed to.”
“When he wasn’t able to make a step that we wanted, that’s when we decided to dive into some testing at that point in time,” Rand said. “Because it gave us a little bit more concern. But it turned out everything was as we expected from the beginning.”
The Tigers will just have to play the waiting game with Verlander for now. Their starters have been pretty good without him, though. Coming into Monday’s action, they ranked second in the majors behind the Cardinals with a 2.48 ERA.
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?