In Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol,” Scrooge was visited by the ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Future. Seeing the way his life has been and how he will be remembered after death, Scrooge renounced his miserly ways, spending his riches for the betterment of others. While the book ends at that point, it is assumed that Scrooge goes on to lead a more fulfilled life, focusing on things other than accumulating wealth.
In Kansas City, the Royals have had their own version of Scrooge controlling the payroll. Despite sitting upon the riches of Croesus, David Glass has tended to keep such a tight rein upon the checkbook that old Scrooge would have felt as though they were brothers. His lack of willingness to do anything more than turn a profit on the Royals may be the biggest reason why the Royals are a ‘small market’ franchise. Thought to have a net worth of approximately $1.8 Billion dollars, Glass could have easily built a team that was in contention every year. Alas, winning was not nearly as much of a draw as increasing profits. This love of the bottom dollar had made him become reviled by many Royals fans.
However, things have changed. Despite claims that the Royals were against their payroll limit, they have continued to add pieces. Jason Vargas and Omar Infante were signed to contracts that not only appear to be solid value, but both players fill needs as the Royals look to compete. They even were in bidding wars with the New York Yankees, going toe to toe with them for the services of Infante and Carlos Beltran. Billy Butler has not been traded, despite his salary, because it makes more sense to keep him on the roster to provide another excellent bat in the lineup. Even with these moves, the Royals still may not be done, as they have their eyes on finding ways to improve their rotation.
In the first post I wrote for the site, I wrote that it was time for David Glass to step up and open his checkbook. Surprisingly, he has done just that this offseason. Perhaps, as Jim Fetterolf opined in the comments, Glass is in legacy mode and wants that title now. It certainly seems that way, with the front office seemingly having the freedom to make such baseball moves as necessary to improve the roster. Or, in a situation parallel to Scrooge, perhaps Glass was forced to see the light. Instead of Marley and those ghosts of Christmas, perhaps Glass was visited by Ewing Kauffman and the ghosts of Royals Past, Present and Future.
Right now, David Glass is willing to spend money, and the Royals appear to be able to contend next season. If they can get a true second starter, then it would really be a Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good 2014.