Mets starter Matt Harvey helped his own cause during his start on Saturday against the Diamondbacks. He put himself in a 2-0 hole after surrendering a two-run home run to David Peralta in the first inning, so he decided to get both runs back with his own stick.
With a runner on first base and two outs in a 2-1 game in the fifth inning, Harvey slugged a first pitch, 93 MPH fastball from Patrick Corbin over the fence in left-center field at Citi Field. Peralta, in left field, immediately waved to signal for a replay review, as a fan had reached over the railing above the fence to catch the ball. However, Harvey’s home run stood upon replay review, giving the right-hander his first career home run.
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Harvey is the second Mets pitcher to have gone yard this year, joining Noah Syndergaard. He wound up with the win as well on Saturday, improving to 8-6 with seven innings of two-run ball, allowing five hits and four walks with nine strikeouts.
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?