The Athletic’s Robert Murray reports that the Brewers are calling second baseman Keston Hiura back to the majors and optioning Travis Shaw to Triple-A San Antonio.
Hiura, 22, made his major league debut on May 14. He hit a productive .281/.333/.531 with five home runs and nine RBI across 69 plate appearances. Hiura was sent back to the minors when Shaw came off of the injured list earlier this month. Hiura continued to hit, posting a 1.061 OPS in 20 games with San Antonio following his demotion.
Shaw, 29, has made few inroads offensively. He’s hitting a pitiful .166/.278/.293 with six home runs and 13 RBI in 209 trips to the plate.
The Brewers and Cubs both won on Thursday, so the Brewers will enter Friday’s action one game out of first 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?