The Royals introduced new owner John Sherman to Kansas City this week and the hometown businessman seemed to say all the right things. Sherman showed his baseball fandom, a desire to learn more about the game of baseball, and a deference to the baseball professionals that will be working under him. What did the media think of his press conference?
Sam Mellinger thought Sherman made a pretty good impression.
The general consensus is that the Royals needed this. They needed a new voice, a fresher look at the game. That Moore, in fact, needed someone to push him in new ways and toward new solutions. That the franchise was not positioned to build its way back up with the same people using the same methods as last time.
If that’s true, then Sherman truly is the perfect man for the job at the perfect time.
The Royals are never going to have the most money, or the biggest payroll. But what if they can have the same data, with better scouting and a modernized player development and support system that relies on both technology and human analysis to get the best from its ballplayers?
What if all of that is coupled with a renewed vigor from the top, pushed by a group of Kansas Citians who view their new venture as less investment and more cause?
Lynn Worthy has more from the introductory press conference, including the future of Dayton Moore.
Sherman expressed confidence in Moore and the baseball operations staff, though he refuted reports that Moore had been given a contract extension by the new ownership group.
Sherman was sure to add, “That’s not a lack of confidence in anybody, I think that’s just we’re coming into the business and we’ve got to see what we have and press forward.”
Jeffrey Flanagan talks to Sherman about payroll, the TV deal, and Dayton Moore.
“I think in this business, if you’re in a small market, you have to be willing to lose money at certain times to be competitive,” Sherman said. “The experience in Cleveland has been very beneficial. Of course, I’ve seen the numbers here. You know, but you have to have a nucleus. It doesn’t make sense to go out and get one big free agent if you don’t have the talent around them. I think about in Cleveland, we started in 2016, and our payroll was $82 million. We had a good team. We were competitive. We added Andrew Miller at the [Trade] Deadline, and we got to the World Series. We didn’t win it. The next year, we signed [Edwin] Encarnación to a three-year deal. I think that was the largest free-agent deal in Indians history then. A couple years later, we traded him away and got Carlos Santana back, a switch-hitter and a good player. Those are all moves that were intended to keep us competitive.
“I can’t forecast the future here, but I’ll be spending a lot of time with Dayton and Mike and figuring out how we build that.”
Daniel Kaplan of The Athletic has a good interview with Sherman on the business side of things.
Are you planning a teardown of the roster to get draft picks?
Actually, actually, that’s part of what I was referring to. We’re in a pretty good position. We got a core of young position players already up in the majors. We’ve got a great group of talent and in the minor leagues…particularly pitchers. We had an exceptionally good 2018 draft where we focused on college pitching talent. And so we’re actually in pretty good shape, lots of payroll flexibility. Got a couple of guys. You know, Alex Gordon, was in the final year of his free-agent deal this year.
Alec Lewis at The Athletic writes that Sherman learned from his time in Cleveland’s ownership grup.
He learned about analytics and wants to continue.
“Everybody talks about analytics,” Sherman said, “but that’s kind of a given. You’ve gotta have the data. How you use the data, whether it’s in-game decision-making, lineup construction or the thing that seems to be at the leading edge right now — the technology, biomechanics, sports science and behavioral science.”
He learned about how to handle payroll and wants to continue.
“I think in this business if you’re in a small market, you have to be willing to lose money at certain times to be competitive,” Sherman said. “… “If one player is not going to move the needle on this team right now, we’ve got to build some other things up.”
Sherman believes pitching is the currency of baseball!
Royals owner John Sherman did rattle off these names as part of what has him optimistic: Brady Singer, Jackson Kowar, Daniel Lynch, Kris Bubic.— Alec Lewis (@alec_lewis) November 26, 2019
"Another thing I learned in Cleveland," Sherman said, "when you have a whole bunch of good pitching, get some more."
Miranda Davis at the Kansas City Business Journal looks at what this means for downtown baseball.
“It will be driven by what’s best for the club, what’s best for the fans and what’s best for the community,” he said...
If the Royals did opt to relocate to Downtown, the club would have a lot of the needed tools within its newly released list of investors.
The list includes the Dunn family, which founded and owns a majority of JE Dunn Construction Co. The Kansas City-based general contractor’s experience building large projects within the Central Business District would make it a natural selection for a stadium job. The company currently is working on Downtown’s largest ongoing construction project: the Loews Kansas City Convention Center Hotel.
In addition to the Dunns, Mariner Kemper is part of the ownership group. As the leader of UMB Financial Corp. (Nasdaq: UMBF), Kemper could help create a path to financing for any proposed project.
Modern Family actor Eric Stonestreet, who is part of the ownership group, was happy to be involved.
Local construction company JE Dunn is also pleased to be involved.
The Dunn Family & JE Dunn are honored to be involved with John Sherman in the purchase of the Kansas City @Royals! The game of baseball & passionate commitment to #KC are rooted in the 95-year history of JE Dunn. We’re proud to be part of the #Royals family! pic.twitter.com/1DRZ3S3iVq— JE Dunn Construction (@JEDunn) November 26, 2019
Peter Mallouk of Creative Planning is also part of the ownership group.
In a statement released by the team, Mallouk said he is excited to be part of the ownership group, which “has strong ties to this great city, and is committed to keeping the Royals here for the long run.”
”I grew up watching the Royals in constant playoff contention and ultimately winning their first World Series, and some of my best memories are from working in the clubhouse for several years while in high school,” he said.
Paul Edgerley of Bain Capital, and also a part owner of the Boston Celtics, is also part of the Royals ownership group.
Sherman was a surprise guest at the KC Chamber of Commerce dinner last night and got a rousing welcome.
What are your thoughts on the new owner?