Rangers outfielder Nomar Mazara was forced out of Monday night’s game against the Angels due to tightness in his left oblique, MLB.com’s T.R. Sullivan reports. Mazara reached base on a fielding error by second baseman Luis Rengifo in the first inning. He was examined by team trainers and initially stayed in the game but did not take his position for the top of the third inning.
Mazara, 24, entered the night batting .269/.319/.467 with 27 doubles, 17 home runs, 62 RBI, and 65 runs scored in 442 plate appearances on the season.
Oblique injuries tend to be serious in nature, so it wouldn’t be surprising to see the Rangers place him on the 10-day injured list tomorrow. It would seem even more likely since they will play a doubleheader against the Angels.
Shin-Soo Choo would most likely handle right field while Mazara is out while Hunter Pence would serve as the everyday DH. Pence and Choo have been platooning at DH for most of the season.
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?