Marcus Stroman is getting closer to rejoining the Blue Jays

11 Comments

Marcus Stroman was originally thought to be lost for the season after tearing the ACL in his left knee during a routine fielding drill in early March, but he has made amazing progress in his rehab (even finishing his degree at Duke University along the way) and there’s now a good chance he’ll be pitching for the Blue Jays this month.

Stroman made his first minor league rehab start Wednesday night with Class A Lansing and he showed no signs of rust at all, tossing 4 2/3 innings of no-hit ball. He walked one batter and struck out seven while throwing 44 out of 69 pitches for strikes. Not bad. Not bad at all.

The plan calls for Stroman to throw a bullpen session Friday before making another rehab start with Triple-A Buffalo on Monday. He’s slated to rejoin the Blue Jays from there, likely as a member of the starting rotation, which would be quite a boost for a team which has been rolling since late July. According to Arden Zwelling of Sportsnet.ca, Stroman is understandably amped up at the propsect of playoff baseball.

“It just shows that all the hard work paid off. Nobody puts higher expectations on me than myself; and no one has more confidence in me than myself,” Stroman said. “I’m more motivated and more hungry now than I’ve ever been. And I’m ready to get back to the big leagues and contribute to this unbelievable team and to get to the playoffs. I’m ready to do something special.

Stroman, 24, posted a 3.65 ERA and 111/28 K/BB ratio in 130 2/3 innings over 20 starts and six relief appearances as a rookie last season.

Ben Lindbergh of Grantland wrote an excellent piece about the science behind Stroman’s rehab. It’s well worth checking out.

The Royals are paying everyone. Why can’t all of the other teams?

Getty Images
Leave a comment

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?