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Royals GM Dayton Moore. Photo: Ed Zurga/Getty Images

The Kansas City Royals have already made a big splash in the undrafted free agent market, signing six players since the window opened on Sunday, including two of the top 20 undrafted seniors and four of the top five players signed in the first 24 hours.

Why it matters: They were able to accomplish this in part by treating their existing players well during the pandemic, news of which reached these prospective draftees over a month ago.

The backdrop: With the pandemic leading to furloughs and budget cuts across all levels of baseball, most MLB teams slashed minor leaguers' stipends ($400 per player per week) or simply cut them outright as a way to save money.

  • Though some teams walked back original plans, simply floating the idea from the start was a bad look.
  • Meanwhile, Kansas City stood behind its players from the start, committing to making no cuts and paying all minor leaguers in full.

What they're saying:

  • Royals GM Dayton Moore in May: "Understand this — the minor league players, the players you'll never know about ... have as much impact on the growth of our game [as] 10-year or 15-year veteran players. ... They're growing the game constantly because they're so passionate about it. So we felt it was really, really important ... to stand behind them."
  • New Royals signee Kale Emshoff on how that influenced his decision to sign with Kansas City: "You want to know that when you're in the organization you're going to be taken care of ... that plays a huge role in the decision-making process."

The bottom line: By sacrificing their bottom line in the short term, the Royals actually improved their standing going forward — a lesson MLB could stand to learn right about now.

Go deeper...Special report: Baseball in America

Go deeper

Aug 27, 2020 - Sports

Pence chief of staff on NBA boycott: "If they want to protest, I don't think we care"

Marc Short, the chief of staff to Vice President Pence, told CNN on Thursday that he believes the NBA boycott is "absurd and silly," adding "if they want to protest, I don't think we care."

The backdrop: The NBA postponed its scheduled playoff games on Wednesday after players, led by the Milwaukee Bucks, refused to take the floor to protest the police shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wisconsin. That incident has again sparked protests nationwide for racial justice.

Trump says the NBA has "become like a political organization"

President Trump said during a press conference on Thursday that the NBA has "become more like a political organization," after teams boycotted their respective games to protest the police shooting of Jacob Blake.

The big picture: The president praised Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers for accepting help from the National Guard this week after the shooting sparked demonstrations and unrest in Kenosha. Trump refused to say whether he saw the video of the police officers shooting Blake seven times at close range in his back.

Aug 27, 2020 - Sports

NBA players decide to resume playoffs after boycott

Photo: Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

NBA players will resume the playoffs, perhaps as soon as Friday, after boycotting Wednesday night's games in a stand for racial justice spurred by the police shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wisconsin, ESPN reports.

Why it matters: The Milwaukee Bucks' historic decision to sit out their game set off a chain of events across professional sports, with games postponed across the WNBA, MLB and MLS.