J.D. Martinez hit three home runs at Yankee Stadium on Sunday


With his dad at home watching on Father’s Day on Sunday, Tigers outfielder J.D. Martinez slugged three home runs in a 12-4 win over the Yankees. Martinez had never hit two home runs in a game before, let alone three. And he even had a chance for a four-homer game, but flew out to right field in the seventh inning.

Martinez’s first home run came in the first inning with a man aboard, taking Masahiro Tanaka out to left-center to boost the Tigers’ lead to 4-0. He hit another one off of Tanaka in the fifth with the bases empty to make it a 7-2 game. In the sixth, he slugged a three-run shot off of reliever Danny Burawa, making his major league debut, to make it 11-2. Watch that third home run here:

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Martinez saw his OPS nearly dip below .700 in early May, but has rebounded in a big way. He’s currently batting .275/.333/.516 with 16 home runs and 41 RBI.

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?