Getty Images

Christian Yelich’s season-ending injury makes Cody Bellinger likely MVP

8 Comments

Maybe Cody Bellinger was already going to win the MVP Award before Christian Yelich went down to a season-ending injury last night. I think he had a slight lead, if for no other reason than he’s (a) the best player on the best team; and (b) there is still some tendency for voters to not want to hand out the hardware to the same guy two years in a row.

But it was probably going to be a close vote. Closer than we thought even a week or two ago if the Brewers’ recent surge had pushed them past the Cubs and into the postseason, but still close even if the Brewers fell short.

Let’s see how they stacked up before Yelich went out:

  • Yelich: .329/.429/.671 (OPS+ 178), 44 homers, 97 RBI, 30 stolen bases, 328 total bases, bWAR 7.1, .  He was leading the league in on-base percentage, slugging, OPS (obviously) and OPS+.
  • Bellinger: .306/.410/.639 (OPS+ 172), 44 homers, 106 RBI, 11, stolen bases, 322 total bases, bWAR 8.3. He leads the NL in WAR, but in no other statistical categories.

Not that they were the only two candidates. Anthony Rendon should get some consideration from voters. So too will Ketel Marte who has, quietly, due to the lack of exposure the Diamondbacks get, I suspect, had a monster season. Both Ronald Acuña Jr. and Josh Donaldson are also high on various leaderboards for the second-best-in-the-NL Atlanta Braves, with Acuña still having a shot at the 40/40 club, which tends to excite voters even if he’s a bit farther down the list of more substantive measures.

But with nods of respect to those guys, I really do think the race was going to come down to Bellinger vs. Yelich. Now that Yelich is down, and now that some of his statistical edges will be dulled, it’s likely Bellinger’s award.

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

Getty Images
2 Comments

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?