The KC Star ran an interesting story today regarding the new willingness of Glass to spend money on the Royals' roster. The article speculates Glass will raise the roster budget to $75-80M this season if deals can be closed. If this is true than it represents a good half step by Glass in the direction of becoming a responsible owner.
"The way we're operating is no different from the way we did things in Atlanta," said Moore, who spent 12 years in the Braves' front office before taking control of the Royals in June 2006."
Why the change? Well, according to this oddly mysterious source:
""He's fought a lot of battles over the years to do what he thought was best for baseball," a close friend said. "He still feels the same way, but he's tired of losing. He wants to win."
I wish Dutton had done a better job on this article.
Dutton presents Glass as an owner willing to spend a lot of money to field a winner. The situation could better be described as Glass finally being willing to spend enough on the team that he will only earn a modest profit rather than huge profit. Glass is finally willing to earn less profit in order to stop being laughed at and known as the worst owner in baseball. There is no reason to conclude Glass was pushed in this direction because his burning desire to win. For years Glass as been the shining example of the greedy baseball owner. Glass was called out by George Steinbrenner last year for just pocketing revenue sharing money sent to him by the Yankees rather than reinvesting it back on the field.
Some figures provided by Dutton today paint the picture better than he is willing to openly state.
The Royals will get about $25M from revenue sharing this off-season.
The Royals will get about $20M from MLB common pool revenue sources. As far as I know the main source of this revenue is MLB.com Advanced Media subscriptions.
Plus, the Royals signed a new ten year deal with Fox Sports Midwest to broadcast Royal's games. I do not know how much extra money this will be but I think the deal is probably for around $15-20M a year. Does anyone know the actual terms?
Plus the Royals will be receiving what amounts to a $225M subsidy from tax payers to pay for renovations on Kauffman stadium. The Royals are chipping in $31M themselves. Undoubtedly these renovations are designed to increase long term team revenues to ensure the team does not relocate. You of course remember that Glass and Seleg both strongly indicated that if the voters didn't cough up the subsidy that the Royals would start looking for a new host city.
So, not even bringing in ticket sales and the huge radio network, the Royals have a lot more money to spend now than they did just a few years ago. The Royals will receive about $60M just from revenue sharing, MLBAM, and FSMidwest this year. That is more than last year's entire roster budget. Throw in ticket sales, radio, concessions and tax breaks and it looks to me like the Royals are probably bringing in well above $80M in revenue per year.
Bottom line, there is no reason Glass cannot afford that $75-80M roster budget. The Royals are making him a ridiculously wealthy man. He bought the team for $96M in 2000. Forbes estimated its value at $282M last April. During Glass' reign he has just been throwing profit on top of his mountain of money every year. If the Royals show up with an opening day payroll of less than $75M it is not a factor of KC being a small-market franchise, it is a factor of the Royals being owned by a man driven more by greed than desire to win.
I hope we all keep this in mind during the hot stove months. The Royals might spend a lot of money on some less than perfect players, but as long as those players help the team it will be a good thing. When the Royals are faced with the prospect of paying more than they want for a player or doing nothing, push for the risky contract. Bottom line, I would rather see the Royals spend $45M on Kuroda or $12M on Riske than to see it thrown on the big pile already sitting in Glass' bank account.