David Wright announced his return with authority tonight against the Phillies, slugging a long home run to the second deck in left field in his first at-bat since April 14. Check it out below:
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He couldn’t have written his return up much better than that. According to MLB Gameday, the ball went off the bat at 108 mph and traveled an estimated 428 feet.
Wright might not be able to be an everyday player down the stretch, as he will likely require regular rest to manage his spinal stenosis. However, he’s still capable of doing some serious damage, which is great news for a team with postseason aspirations.
Wright has now hit 20 home runs at Citizens Bank Park, the most by any visiting player.
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?