Orioles shortstop Manny Machado has been suspended four games and fined $2,500 for punching Royals pitcher Yordano Ventura after he was hit by a 99 MPH fastball, per Bob Nightengale of USA TODAY. That’s half the punishment Rangers second baseman Rougned Odor received for punching Jose Bautista last month.
Teammate Adam Jones volunteered to pay Machado’s fine for him. Jones said, via MASN’s Steve Melewski, “I’ve got Manny’s fine and the rest is history. Manny is not at fault for nothing. You get hit with 95 or 98 (mph) and see what you do.”
Machado plans to appeal the suspension, per Nightengale. Appealing allows him to play in the Orioles’ four-game series against the Blue Jays in Toronto starting tonight, as a hearing would likely take place next week.
Machado enters play Thursday batting .303/.375/.593 with 15 home runs and 37 RBI in 259 plate appearances.
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?