Jon Morosi of FOX Sports is reporting that the Mets and Brewers have had trade discussions lately involving third baseman Aramis Ramirez and shortstop Jean Segura.
It’s no surprise that the Mets are looking for upgrades on the left side of the infield, as David Wright has been out since mid-April with back issues and there is no timetable for his return. The Mets hope to get him back shortly after the All-Star break, but it’s still not known how frequently he would be able to play.
Meanwhile, Mets shortstops Wilmer Flores and Ruben Tejada have combined to put up a .665 OPS at the position, roughly 30 points below the league average.
Neither Ramirez nor Segura have had good seasons. But Ramirez, 37, has hit better as of late and the 25-year-old Segura would be under team control through 2018. Ramirez plans to retire after the season and is owed the remainder of his $14 million salary.
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?