The sale of the Kansas City Royals was officially completed Tuesday and now John Sherman and his group own the team. In the press conference on Tuesday to introduce Sherman, he talked about how the process started with a phone call from a number from Arkansas. Sherman joked that he did not answer the call because at his age he is the target of scammers. Eventually, he talked with David Glass who told him that he would like Sherman to be the next owner of the club.
Sherman sounds like potentially a terrific owner for the Royals. He clearly loves Kansas City. He wants to get back to the World Series for the team but also the city. If nothing else, he certainly seems like a better owner than David Glass.
In the Tuesday press conference, Sherman discussed several topics of interest.
Sherman will be an active owner in that we will likely see him at home games. He lives in Kansas City, unlike David Glass who lived in Arkansas. He plans to be in the owners’ box to cheer on the club. Sherman said that he will be available to the media when necessary but will leave the baseball decisions to Dayton Moore.
Sherman also said that small-market teams like the Royals have to be smarter than their large market opponents. He said that analytics is a given. Everyone has to use analytics. He was also impressed to learn while with the Cleveland Indians just how much baseball does to help young players have success. He didn’t mention centerfield cameras to relay signs to batters but he was in Cleveland after all and not Houston. The key for Sherman is how you use analytics. He also said that the Royals have to be willing to trade assets to compete.
It’s too bad the media didn’t follow up with that last comment about trading assets to compete. What exactly does Sherman mean by that? I’m going to guess. I’m thinking that he will likely allow trades to put the team over the top in a playoff push like the Royals did in 2015 when they acquired Ben Zobrist and Johnny Cueto.
In July of 2015, the Royals acquired starting pitcher Johnny Cueto in exchange for left-handed pitcher Brandon Finnegan and minor league left-handed pitchers John Lamb and Cody Reed. Finnegan had done well for the Royals shortly after being drafted. John Lamb was a top prospect although the shine had been lost a little because of injuries. The fact that the Royals were willing to give up three minor leaguers is promising. That can only be done when the team is a lock for the playoffs and it can’t be done very often. Minor league players are how the Royals have to replenish the major league roster.
The Royals also traded a high-level prospect in left-handed starting pitcher Sean Manaea and minor leaguer Aaron Brooks for Ben Zobrist who was a key contributor to the club’s World Series victory. Manaea went on to throw a no-hitter for the Athletics before dealing with injuries.
I think what Sherman was referring to, even more, might be trading away established major league players before they walk or lose their skills. The Royals have to be smart about their assets as Sherman put it. That’s where I have wanted the Royals to be all along. Too many players have left for nothing. Think of Eric Hosmer and Lorenzo Cain. With Dayton Moore now saying that he wants to build a sustained winner, that’s the direction the team must be thinking. Now that John Sherman said practically as much in his introductory press conference it is almost certain to start happening. That’s encouraging for Royals fans. The Royals should take their shots at the World Series when they have a chance but they need to rely on their own players more than rentals. If they don’t win the World Series that’s ok. Be in the hunt most years and eventually they will win one or at least give their fans excitement and fun baseball to attend.
As far as competing and acquiring players, Sherman talked about the role of a major league owner. He said that his job will be to allocate resources at the right time. I heard that as being willing to sign young players to contract extensions to buy out some free agency years. It almost certainly also means signing the right free agent when there is a fit. Don’t expect the Royals to go back to the days of signing a top free agent like when they signed Mark Davis after he won the Cy Young award as the San Diego Padres closer. That signing never worked out for the club and I wouldn’t expect the team to ever go that route. However, I do think that Sherman might be willing to spend on the right player in the right situation. The bottom line is the Sherman will likely do more than what David Glass has been willing to do.’
One of the first questions asked in the press conference was about a potential downtown stadium for the club. Sherman seemed to be open to the idea. He said that the team will look into the future of where they play when the time is right. He did acknowledge the potential of a downtown stadium being able to create more opportunities with development around the ballpark. That really only works downtown in Kansas City. It just so happens that one of the members of the ownership group is the Dunn family who owns JE Dunn Construction whose Kansas City office is downtown right by some empty land and parking lots. This is a very likely spot for a future stadium for the Royals. Sherman said that he will consider new stadiums based on what is best for the team, the fans and the city.
It’s a new and exciting time for Royals fans. This should have happened a long time ago. We hope that Sherman proves to be as good of an owner as he appears to be based on what we have heard. We will see. At least there is optimism that the Royals can once again be a consistent contender.