Nationals reliever Kelvin Herrera had to be carted off the field in the ninth inning of Sunday’s 15-0 win over the Mets. Herrera started the ninth, getting Jay Bruce to fly out before giving up a single to Austin Jackson, bringing up José Bautista. Bautista weakly hit the ball to the right of the pitcher’s mound, sending Herrera chasing after it. As Herrera retrieved the ball, he began to hobble due to an obvious injury but he was still able to complete the unassisted putout at first base. Herrera was then carted off the field with an apparent leg injury.
MASN’s Dan Kolko reports that the injury isn’t believed to be a torn Achilles tendon, which it looked like at first glance. Herrera will undergo further testing and the Nationals should provide an update on Monday.
Herrera, 28, was acquired by the Nationals from the Royals in June in exchange for three minor leaguers. Between both teams, Herrera has a 2.44 ERA with a 56/20 K/BB ratio in 45 1/3 innings.
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?