The Giants lost four games in a row heading into Saturday afternoon’s game against the Nationals. Sometimes, you need to get creative to get off the schneid.
Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper had doubled in the seventh inning against reliever Yusmeiro Petit to put runners on second and third with no outs for Wilson Ramos. After a first-pitch strike, Giants center fielder Gregor Blanco started jogging in towards the infield. Alertly, Ramos got Harper’s attention and told him to get back to the second base bag. Petit’s throw was a bit high but Harper would have gotten back safely no matter how good the throw was.
The Nationals ended up scoring three runs in the inning en route to a 9-3 victory, sending the Giants to their fifth straight loss.
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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?