Kansas City Royals v Baltimore Orioles

There are not degrees of rich. You either are or you aren’t. People who become rich don’t transition slowly from one to the other. You switch from not-rich to rich pretty much instantaneously (and then hope you don’t switch back.)

It will never stop shocking me when a player takes less money or moves his contract around to help benefit the team. Selfless as the act might be, there are only so many opportunities to make real money as a pro athlete, maybe get what you can while it’s out there?

After news broke this week that Jeremy Guthrie restructured his contract with the Royals (in Decmember) to allow the team more payroll flexibility as Kansas City tries to build on their 2013 improvement, I was reminded of Dustin Pedroia‘s comments on taking a “below market deal” – he’s still rich as sh%t.

But the question isn’t whether or not Jeremy Guthrie is less rich now or more rich after changing the shape of his contract. Instead of $11MM in 2014 and $9MM in 2015, the right-hander will now receive $8MM next year, the same $9MM in 2015 but now the team holds a $3.2 MM buyout on a mutual option for 2016 worth $10.2 million, according to MLB.com.

As far as guaranteed money goes, he actually got a bump of $200K. But the veteran player agreed to take less this season in order to help the Royals make another move to bring them closer to the playoffs. A noble move for a player hoping to get some playoff time before his career ends. Commendable, really.

But then again, how messed up is it that a business the size of the Kansas City Royals is essentially borrowing money from one of its employees? With all the TV money floating around the game right now, the Royals couldn’t find an extra $3MM without going to a veteran player hat in hand?

This is a purposely cruel reading of the story – the Royals likely wanted to tack the option year onto Guthrie’s contract after his nice 2013 season, in which he threw 200 innings of 4.04 ERA ball. Entirely possible.

That KC lumbers into multiple arbitration negotiations with a flush kitty of cash is a nice side bonus. The Royals made some nice strides in 2013, everyone in Kansas City hopes to maintain the momentum as they build toward something special in 2014. If Jeremy Guthrie wants to do his part for the cause, it’s tough to fault him. With more than $35 million in career earnings by the end of his career, he’s still rich as sh%t.

Important Read of the Day

Image courtesy of the Boston Globe

Ryan Westmoreland’s story is equal parts uplifting and sad. The great story of a young man who overcame a very serious disease, the local kid turned top Red Sox prospect’s story gives hope to all comforting dire medical situations.

After giving up his efforts to return to baseball after having an endless battery of brain surgeries and rehab, the Sox affliate in Lowell announced yesterday they would retire Ryan Westmoreland’s number, a terrific gesture toward a man highly regarded throughout the Red Sox organization.

This Boston Globe story lays out many details from Westmoreland’s baseball career and underlines the impact he made on the Sox in such a short time. A good read indeed.

To say a mouthful

Alex Rodriguez contains multitudes. Let there be no doubt.

Birds on the Mend

After one very good season and one decent year, things aren’t looking quite as rosy in Baltimore for 2014. Sure, they still have Chris Davis and Matt Wieters but a serious injury knocked wunderkind third baseman Manny Machado out late in the season in addition to losing top prospect Dylan Bundy to Tommy John surgery early in the year.

Good news on those two fronts as Bundy is finally throwing without pain and Machado is clear to resume baseball activities after his knee surgery. Machado will not participate in a mini-camp this week because of scheduling issues more than physical ones. The team believes their third baseman is on track to arrive at least one week early to Spring Training where he will participate at full speed.

Bundy’s comeback is on a slower track but it does appear the fireballing right-hander should be pitching one year and one day after his procedure – June 28th by his math.

Bundy and Machado represent a bright future for the Orioles, as up-the-middle strength is always welcome. Losing the two players to such serious injuries at different stages of their developments might have been even more catastrophic to the Orioles plans. Instead, Bundy lost a year that he optimistically would have split between triple-A and the big leagues and Machado missed just the end of an also-ran season.

Bundy is an electric arm who put up some of the most unbelievable minor league numbers you’ll ever see. In an interview with the Baltimore Sun, Bundy revealed how much he learned about his arm and caring for it through the rigorous rehabilitation process.

In high school, I didn’t know a whole lot of shoulder stuff. I just worked out and long tossed and did some mini-band stuff for my shoulder. Right now, we’re doing a lot of exercises and definitely my shoulder feels a lot stronger than it has been, so I know coming back that if I keep doing these exercises, it should feel great.”

An even-strong Dylan Bundy is a scary thought, indeed. The Orioles can’t get their two prized possessions back soon enough. The future of the club sort of depends on them.

1000 Yard stare of the day

This bear has seen some things, man. Things you wouldn’t believe.