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Marlins taking Brad Ziegler out of closer role


MLB.com’s Joe Frisaro reports that Marlins manager Don Mattingly has decided to take Brad Ziegler out of the closer’s role. A replacement has not yet been named.

Ziegler, 38, is 9-for-10 in save chances, but owns a 7.83 ERA with a 15/6 K/BB ratio in 15 innings. He blew a save opportunity on Wednesday, yielding two runs and recording only one out against the Padres. He also surrendered three runs and recorded two outs against the Nationals on Saturday.

Kyle Barraclough figures to be the top candidate to get saves in Ziegler’s place. The right-hander has a 1.48 ERA with a 27/15 K/BB ratio in 24 1/3 innings. Drew Steckenrider and Tayron Guerrero are other candidates, but both have ERA’s in the 5.00’s.

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

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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?