Power may have been restored at Tropicana Field in more ways than one on Thursday evening. Shortly after the lights went back on, Angels first baseman Albert Pujols mashed a no-doubt two-run home run to left field off of Rays starter Ryan Yarbrough, boosting the Angels’ lead to 3-0.
The homer marked the 200th for Pujols as a member of the Angels. He hit 445 with the Cardinals. According to STATS LLC, he is the sixth player to hit at least 200 homers with two different teams. The others:
- Jimmie Foxx: Philadelphia Athletics (302), Red Sox (222)
- Mark McGwire: Oakland Athletics (363), Cardinals (220)
- Rafael Palmeiro: Rangers (321), Orioles (223)
- Ken Griffey Jr.: Mariners (417), Reds (210)
- Manny Ramírez: Red Sox (274), Indians (236)
Pujols entered Thursday’s action batting .236/.313/.448 with 11 home runs and 35 RBI across 230 plate appearances. Adjusting his OPS for league and park factors, 2019 is shaping up to be his most productive season since 2016. He has a 102 OPS+ compared to 91 last year, 80 in 2017, and 113 in 2016.
A future first-ballot Hall of Famer, Pujols currently sits sixth on Major League Baseball’s all-time home run leaderboard at 645. Assuming he stays healthy, he could surpass Willie Mays (660) this season to move into fifth place.
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?