Jack Curry of the YES Network reports that the Yankees are calling up first base prospect Greg Bird today.
Bird, 22, is a fifth round pick from the 2011 draft. He was promoted to Triple-A Scranton in July and is hitting .301/.353/.500 batting line with six home runs in 34 games there. Before that he had an .804 OPS at Double-A Trenton this season and an .848 OPS at high-A and Double-A last year.
Curry says that Bird will be backing up Mark Teixeira and Alex Rodriguez as the Yankees play 16 straight games without an off day. He, of course, is also a potentially key part of the Yankees future and a guy who could possibly help jump start New York’s recently moribund offense.
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?