Prior to the Marlins’ sale two years ago, an MLB franchise hadn’t been sold since 2012. But the Kansas City Royals are now on the block, with owner David Glass reportedly in advanced negotiations to sell the team for more than $1 billion to a group led by Indians minority owner John Sherman.
While the transaction isn’t finalized and the Royals refusing to comment on the news, The Athletic and ESPN are reportedly saying this is all but a done deal.
Glass, 84, purchased the franchise for $96 million in 2000 and his frugal approach as an owner has cost the Royals over the last decade. The Royals have finished with a losing record in 14 of 19 seasons, and are currently on pace to lose at least 100 games for the sixth time under him. A former CEO of Walmart, Glass insisted that he wanted the team to break even.
However, the Royals did win a World Series in his ownership. They have arguably been the luckiest small-budget team ever as many of them reached the playoffs, some even the World Series, but never won it. The Royals depended on the farm system and international scouting development with very little spending in free agency. As a young and speedy team, the Royals reached the World Series and lost in seven in 2014 before winning the following year.
This is where all the positives run out. After winning the World Series, Glass told GM Dayton Moore that the Royals should cut payroll. The Royals’ window closed a lot earlier than any other team would’ve in their circumstances, starting with trading Wade Davis to save $7 million.
Royals fans will forever be grateful for the World Series but Glass held the team back towards the end of the window. With the sale, there is hope that the new owner will actually spend and try to keep the team competitive.
John Sherman, 64, has made his money in the energy industry and he’s a former Royals season ticket holder. These are potentially good things, both for keeping the team in Kansas City and for his emotional invest in the team winning. Also a positive is that the Royals’ unfavorable local TV contract is up after this season: They’re expected to sign a new deal worth more than $50 million a year, more than double what they’re getting now.
So, there is good reason to think that there will be better days ahead for the Royals. It would be very hard for life to be any worse than what it was under David Glass anyway.