Update (8:14 PM EST): Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union-Tribune reports that the catcher the Padres are sending to the Astros is Erik Kratz.
Evan Drellich of the Houston Chronicle is reporting that the Astros are sending pitcher Dan Straily to the Padres in a deal involving a catcher. MLB.com’s Brian McTaggart has confirmed Drellich’s report. Obviously, details are scant now, but we’ll update you as more information is known.
Straily, 27, pitched only 16 2/3 innings for the Astros last season, spending most of the year at Triple-A Fresno. He struggled at both levels, putting up a 4.77 with Fresno and 5.40 in the big leagues. Over parts of four seasons in the majors, Straily has battled command issues and hasn’t yet shown swing-and-miss stuff good enough to make up for it.
So far this spring, Straily has allowed eight runs on 15 hits and three walks with 14 strikeouts in 12 innings. He’s now a candidate to pitch out of the back of the Padres’ rotation.
The Astros are hurting for catching depth behind starter Jason Castro, as Max Stassi recently had surgery to repair the hamate bone in his left wrist. Kratz, 35, has a career .667 OPS but can hit for occasional power.
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?