Orioles shortstop J.J. Hardy has already been slumping and now Rich Dubroff of CSNMidAtlantic.com reports that he’s headed to the disabled list with a left groin injury.
The injury has bothered Hardy for a few days. The 33-year-old was held out of today’s lineup against the Twins, but entered the game as a defensive replacement in the ninth inning before leaving for a pinch-runner in the 11th. Hardy admitted to Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun after the game that he felt some discomfort while running and walking, so it was decided that a trip to the disabled list is the best course of action.
Hardy is still very good defensively, but he continues to decline at the plate. He’s hitting just .145 this month and .222/.253/.315 with seven home runs and 32 RBI on the year.
Ryan Flaherty figures to get most of the playing time at shortstop with Hardy sidelined. It’s worth noting that Manny Machado made his first major league appearance at shortstop in the 12th inning today after Hardy left the game. He committed an error which opened the door for the winning run to score.
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?