The Royals Have Money – It’s Time to Spend It
I had an article planned to write about how David Glass needs to put up or shut up in this off-season in a year when the Royals could potentially compete for a division title with the right moves. Then Sam Mellinger went and wrote an article that basically had the same message as the one I was about halfway finished writing. My first thought was to scrap the article, but then I decided just to do some re-working with some help of the words of Mellinger from his article. I’ve written before that this winter poses an opportunity for the Royals in multiple avenues, and the idea that the Royals are limited to a payroll of $70 million (Glass calls it a soft figure) is absolutely ridiculous.
In the past, I’ve defended David Glass to some extent, mentioning how I’m more concerned with Dayton Moore’s inability to assemble a big league roster and to assess the free agent/trade market, but if David Glass doesn’t open up the wallet, then much of the blame goes squarely back to him for Kansas City lacking a winner at Kauffman Stadium. Before I get too deep into it, I want to point out that it is very true that players have to want to come to a team and that money isn’t always the deciding factor. A perennial loser like the Royals is likely a tough sell, but with this $70 million figure, Dayton Moore is prohibited from going after guys like Anibal Sanchez, who Mellinger mentions in his column.
And I also recognize that this $70 million figure wouldn’t be a giant issue if not for contracts like Jeff Francoeur’s and Bruce Chen’s, but the fact of the matter is that the number can and should be higher. Yes, it’s easy for me to say that as it isn’t my money, but I feel when you purchase a big league baseball team, you enter into an agreement that winning is more important than anything. Many owners do not live by this idea, but that doesn’t change the fact that I believe it to be the way it should be.
We’ve talked a lot about the new national television contract that should add millions to the owners’ pockets. Many teams will take that money and allocate it toward their payroll, which will inflate salaries. In general, the idea is that it won’t do anything beyond that because every team will receive the same boost, but we have to keep in mind that this contract does not go into place until next season. While many teams should and will have the same outlook on it that I do, others will not, which makes this a sort of different off-season. When the Royals were blessed with the good fate of Gil Meche retiring prior to the 2011 season and leaving $12 million on the table, many of us had no issue with the Royals simply pocketing that money in order to put it toward keeping a nucleus together later or even helping the young nucleus get closer to a championship. It’s time to spend that money and even some of the television deal money if need be to get a head start on other teams who will wait until next season to spend.
According to Cot’s, the Royals payroll in 2011 sat at $38,176,000. In the five other years during Dayton Moore’s regime, the Royals payroll has averaged a shade under $67 million. It’s time for David Glass to come out and say that the money saved during the 2011 season and the extra money that will be lining his pocket following the 2013 season will be used toward this off-season. What I see from that 2011 payroll and the average payroll in Dayton Moore’s other seasons as general manager is that the Royals have an extra $30 million or so to play with on the free agent market. Now, I don’t expect a $95 million payroll or anything (though I wouldn’t say no to it), but I do think it’s time to open up the wallet and go get the guy.
Mellinger names Zack Greinke as someone the Royals can’t and won’t go after. I’m fully on board with that, but let’s revisit Anibal Sanchez. There’s talk that he wants seven years and $100 million plus. I think that’s ridiculous for him, and if that’s really what he’s seeking then the Royals need to move on, but they have to find out. If he wants 6 year and $96 million, spend it and add $2 million per year. With Zack Greinke just too far out there, the Royals have to move on to the second best pitcher on the market and Sanchez is it. But it isn’t really about who they should sign. If Sanchez can’t sign, the Royals have to move on to a trade target who might be too expensive. Maybe the Phillies are looking to shed some payroll for whatever reason and are willing to talk about Cliff Lee (and throw some money in). The point is, it doesn’t matter. They need to try and they need to spend in order to try. As Mellinger writes, David Glass says he wants to win. It’s time to put his money where his mouth is.
If this seems a little bit rambling, it is. Very rarely do I let my emotions get the better of me when I’m writing an article. I remember it happened after the blown save in Oakland early in the season and has happened in other situations, but I typically try to write when I’m not worked up. But the more I think about the money the Royals should have to spend, the more annoyed I get with the ownership group putting a limit on how much money they are going to spend for the 2013 season. The Royals have a chance to take back Kansas City with the struggles of the Chiefs and they have a chance to make huge leaps in the division where the best team won 88 games last season and the second best team could just as easily lose 95 as win 85 next year. And yeah, it’s time to dip into the reserve and take that money saved by trading Zack Greinke and watching Gil Meche walk away from an eight figure contract and spend it to improve the 2013 squad.
Look, there’s every chance they can try to spend money and simply won’t succeed because sometimes it’s tough to get top tier talent to come to a team that hasn’t won more than 75 games since 2003. All I’m asking is they try. I’d prefer they succeed, but an effort is better than nothing. I’ve defended Glass in the past, but if that effort isn’t made in the next few weeks, those defenses will be empty. Mellinger is right. This is about David Glass’s word and the saying goes a man is only as good as his word. We’ll see how good David Glass is.
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