We have a trend here. Last week we heard about Mets left-hander Jon Niese, but now it’s Ian Kennedy’s turn. According to Corey Brock of MLB.com, Kennedy watched the birth of his daughter on FaceTime yesterday before allowing two runs over seven innings against the Marlins.
Kennedy’s wife, Allison, went into labor with their fourth child yesterday morning. He attempted to make it back to Southern California, but his flight from Miami was delayed due to inclement weather and his wife eventually just told him to stay and pitch. His daughter, Evelyn Nicole, was born just about two hours before the start of the game.
Kennedy allowed a two-run homer to Christian Yelich in the first inning, but held the Marlins off the board the rest of the way. The special day functioned as motivation for him.
“Giving up the homer helped shake it up a little bit,” he said. “[I thought], ‘Hey, I’m out here on a big league mound, you’ve got to step it up. What are you going to tell your daughter after you’re all done?’ It was just fun to pitch. Now I get to go home. I just want to hold her.”
Kennedy, who was among the many prominent names who remained with the Padres through Friday’s trade deadline, was scheduled to leave the team this morning to be with his family. He’s expected to return for his next start on Wednesday against the Brewers.
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?