Chris Cotillo of MLB Daily Dish first reported this as a possibility and now Jordan Bastian of MLB.com says it’s done: the Indians have traded 1B/OF Brandon Moss to the Cardinals for pitching prospect Rob Kaminsky.
The Cardinals were looking for a corner guy to help fill the void left my Matt Holliday’s return to the disabled list. Moss fits that description, and is the lefty bat the Cards were looking for as well. The bat has not hit too well this year — he’s hitting just .217/.208/.487 this season and perversely, is hitting lefties better than righties — but he has a line of .254/.340/.504 over the previous three years.
And of course, the Cardinals and their devil magic tend to turn everyone into a near-superstar as soon as they’re acquired. If they didn’t get Moss they could’ve probably signed Will Clark out of retirement again and have him hit .280/.340/.500. That’s just how they roll.
As for Kaminsky, he was a first round pick in 2013 wand was the Tribe’s number five prospect coming into the season, at least as far as Baseball America went. He turns 21 in September and is 14-10 with a 2.15 ERA and a K/BB ratio of 186/68 in 217 minor league innings. He’s finishing up the year at high-A in the Florida State League.
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?