The Kansas City Royals have actually done very little this off-season in terms of substantive moves, which makes the amount of discussion they have managed to generate these past few days particularly impressive.
After everyone had a nice Wil Myers induced panic attack last night, things appeared to be trending positively after Bob Dutton reported that the Myers for James Shields talks appeared to be on hold.
Then Dutton released an article today stating the Royals break-even point for their finances is $70 million dollars, which is not in line with what we had been told.
In a previous article, David Glass stated that the $70 million dollar break even point was for major league player salaries, and now it is for total payroll, including draft and international standing.
Dutton explained the consequences of the new information, writing:
That reduces the break-even point for the 25-man roster - the figure generally used for comparison purposes in public discussions - to roughly $57 million. The draft and international limits under the new labor agreement comprise about $10 million.
It also means, as things currently stand, the Royals are already over budget since the projected payroll for their 25-man roster is roughly $65 million.
If we stick our head in the sand and take Glass' word as gospel (you shouldn't), this means that the Royals have essentially no money left to acquire an expensive pitcher. It should also make you question why Kansas City is interested in trading a young, talented and cheap player for an older and more expensive one.
With essentially no money left over, it seems like the Royals should target cheaper free agents. This new information helps explain the following tweets:
Source is also insistent that the Royals are not in the Anibal Sanchez market -- not at five years and $70M-plus, where it stands now.— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) December 6, 2012
#Royals exploring a group of free agent starters that includes Brett Myers, Kevin Correia and Jair Jurrjens, source says.— Jerry Crasnick (@jcrasnick) December 6, 2012
But then Dutton sends out the following tweet, which only muddles the picture further.
Have been told repeatedly the #Royals have no intention, for now, of pursuing any pitcher who wouldn't front their rotation.— Bob Dutton (@Royals_Report) December 6, 2012
In conclusion, the Royals are already "over budget," so they want to trade their cheap players for expensive ones. They are not interested in Anibal Sanchez, but instead are targeting cheaper options. But they are not interested in bringing in a pitcher who will not front the rotation.
There has already been some active discussion about today's news in the other thread, but the question needs to be asked again; what in the world is going on?
It looks like someone gave Mr. Dutton some incorrect information. Dutton sent out the following tweets explaining the error:
OK, #Royals fans, just got off the phone with club officials who say they gave me bad info; $70 million payroll is for 40-man roster but...— Bob Dutton (@Royals_Report) December 6, 2012
...it doesn't include the signing bonus budgets for the draft and international signings. Am correcting story.— Bob Dutton (@Royals_Report) December 6, 2012
So the Royals are essentially at their "budget limit," not over. The larger issue of not understanding what the Royals are doing still stands.