During his tenure as owner of the Kansas City Royals, David Glass has been called a great many things. Until recently, the vast majority of these phrases have not been exactly things that could be repeated on a family friendly site. Yet, the vast majority of these epithets involved some semblance of the word ‘cheap.’
That reputation for being cheap was well deserved. Glass was a part of the trust that pared down the Royals payroll and turned them from a winning franchise to a laughingstock. With rare exceptions, like Gil Meche and Jose Guillen, the Royals did not spend in free agency. In fact, their payroll of the 2011 season on Opening Day was barely over $36 Million.
The times, however, have changed. While the Royals are never going to compete with the New York Yankees or Los Angeles Dodgers in terms of payroll, gone are the days where they would scrape the bottom of the free agency barrel to save a couple of shekels. In the span of four seasons, the Royals have increase by over $77 Million to last year’s team record $113.6 Million Opening Day mark.
This dedication to increasing payroll and signing the Royals younger talent to long term extensions has had predictable results. Kansas City’s record has improved in each of these last four years, culminating with a World Series victory just eleven days ago. But now, with players like Alex Gordon and Ben Zobrist as free agents, and Lorenzo Cain and Mike Moustakas due for what should be a hefty raise in arbitration, that payroll could increase even further.
In what will be quite the interesting offseason for the Kansas City Royals, no one may be as key to their success as David Glass. He has gotten his championship, and has seemingly taken his “losing is for losers” quote to heart. Now, in order to build a team capable of repeating, the Royals need to find a way to replace half the bullpen, both corner outfielders, at least one starting pitcher and rebuild some of the depth that was on the bench. Glass may need to open the vault even more than he had last year.
Glass certainly increased the payroll after the Royals run of success last year, and that payroll may increase even further after the World Series victory. The fanbase has become a truly energized machine, helping pump a lot more resources into the Royals coffers. This could mean that the payroll will once again increase by quite a solid amount, especially if the Royals do manage to retain both Gordon and Zobrist.
Of all the moving parts in the Kansas City Royals offseason, how David Glass handles the team’s payroll may be the most fascinating to watch. Now that he has tasted success and has climbed to the top of the mountain, how far will he be willing to push the budget to remain there?