John Sherman’s group completed the purchase of the Kansas City Royals back in November 2019, and has made sure to say all the right things so far.
Plenty has been said about the new majority and controlling owner – who had a minor share, and later became Vice Chairman of the Cleveland Indians for four years. Apparently, he’s not afraid to spend under the right circumstances, but he’s right when he mentions that with a small market revenue the spending must be smart and innovative, so it’s important that smart and innovative personalities surround the staff.
"From Jeffrey Flanagan, MLB.com: “I learned a lot in four seasons in Cleveland. We had seven straight winning seasons, and I think we won an average of 94 games the four seasons I was there. But I think as a small-market team, you have to be smarter. You have to evaluate and draft well. We wrapped up some people pre-arbitration, and certainly this team has done some of that. And then, when you have the opportunity, you have to trade away some assets to be able to compete. I think I learned that in Cleveland. I think these guys are pretty optimistic. I think I heard [Matheny] say, ‘It’s not a rebuild. It’s a transformation.’” – John Sherman"
Having said that, hiring Mike Matheny came as a surprise, as he didn’t seem too innovative during his days with the St. Louis Cardinals, but he’s certainly heard about the desire to look at concepts such as analytics to gain an advantage. Matheny has been vocal about the newfound knowledge, and even took a course on the subject matter.
Nevertheless, these changes within the organization are a breath of fresh air as change needed to occur. The ballclub has hit rock bottom on consecutive seasons and something has to happen to start winning ballgames at a respectable clip.
Matheny stacked his coaching staff with personnel that have been with the Royal organization for some time, but also added his hitting coach from St. Louis in John Mabry as major league coach. Others such as hitting coach Terry Bradshaw, and pitching coach Cal Eldred, are still rather new to their posts as they’re walking into their third year in the position.