Rays activate Drew Smyly from 60-day disabled list

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As announced late Saturday night by the Rays’ official Twitter account, left-hander Drew Smyly has been activated from the disabled list and will start Sunday in Tampa Bay’s series finale against the Rangers. Kirby Yates was optioned to Triple-A Durham to clear out a 25-man roster spot.

Smyly has been sidelined since the first week of May with a partially-torn labrum in his left shoulder. The 26-year-old southpaw had a 2.70 ERA in three starts before the injury and boasts a 1.96 ERA in 10 total appearances (64 1/3 innings) since joining the Rays in last summer’s David Price trade.

Smyly is under contractual control with Tampa Bay through the 2018 season.

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?