Carlos Gonzalez is on fire; next up on Rockies’ trade block?

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Rockies outfielder Carlos Gonzalez missed 92 games with injuries last season and struggled when he was healthy enough to play, so when the 29-year-old two-time All-Star got off to a bad start this year it was cause for major concern in Colorado.

Gonzalez hit just .188 with two homers and a .542 OPS through 29 games despite claiming to be fully healthy. Something seemed to click for him in mid-May and since then he’s hit .319 with 18 homers and a .990 OPS in 61 games.

That includes two homers last night, two homers Sunday, two homers Friday, and one homer Thursday for a five-game stretch in which Gonzalez went 12-for-21 (.571) with seven homers, 15 RBIs, and a 2.180 OPS.

And in the wake of trading Troy Tulowitzki to the Blue Jays, might the Rockies look to deal Gonzalez now that he’s performing like a middle-of-the-order star again? He’s owed $17 million in 2016 and $20 million in 2017.

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?