Kansas City Royals: Selling the team now is the only play for David Glass

When news broke Tuesday afternoon that Kansas City Royals owner David Glass was in talks to sell the franchise to Kansas City resident and Cleveland Indians minority owner John Sherman, many fans felt a sense of relief. After 20 years, the man who bought the team for $96 million is on the verge of a deal north of $1 billion.

When Glass, former CEO of Wal-Mart, bought the Kansas City Royals in 2000, he did so partly on the request of franchise founder, Ewing Kauffman. At the time, an opposing bid by Miles Prentice that included local golfer, Tom Watson, and others never had a chance with the Commissioner’s office. He was considered a maverick and an outsider. Instead, Bud Selig wanted Glass and his Wal-Mart mentality in their K.C. club.

Owners had two needs for Glass, with the first being buying a franchise that was part of the fabric of the midwest and the second being to use his intellect to craft a better deal with the players’ union. Though Glass endured a strike season, he also engineered a pair of World Series trips in 2014 and 2015. The latter was his signature accomplishment to the city that he never called home but nonetheless pushed all his chips into; as a result, the Kansas City Royals were World Champions again.

Fast forward to 2019, and this franchise is in a far different place. Void of enough prospects for another World Series title, Glass is selling at the right time. After their failed run in 2016, Glass told general manager Dayton Moore to gut the franchise. Being the good soldier, Moore jettisoned most of the stars from their championship run and was left with a rebuilding process that to date still leaves the minor league system in an average state.

Once Forbes released their $1 billion evaluation this past spring for the Kansas City Royals, Glass began looking for suitors to purchase the franchise. From all accounts, he appears to have found a match in Sherman, who finalized the deal on Friday to become the new majority owner of the Royals.

Sherman is a Kansas City native with ties to the Kaufmann family and foundation; not to mention, he is a highly successful businessman. In 2016, he bought a minority stake in the Cleveland Indians that he will need to relinquish once the sale is finalized over the next month or two.

For Glass, he really had little choice to sell the team. Though his son, Dan Glass, remains the team’s president, he doesn’t have the business chops of his father – even with Dayton Moore at his side.

The deal, which is expected to net Glass somewhere around $1 billion, comes at a time when the Royals are on the verge of a 10-year, $500 million TV deal with FOX Sports. Despite the poor play by the Royals on the field, they attract some of the largest TV audiences on the FOX Sports Regional networks.

Still, there are some who wonder if this is a good move by Glass. Further, despite the fact the deal includes a windfall of local TV money, will Sherman expand the payroll? Will he also demand a new stadium in downtown Kansas City?

Spending over a billion dollars is not going to create a frugal spender in Sherman. Let’s be honest: this franchise is a mess. The icing on the cake? Manager Ned Yost will likely step down at season’s end and the future of Dayton Moore could also be in question. Though it’s conceivable that Moore could move into the role vacated by Dan Glass.

What would make this potential sale even more complicated will be if it drags out. Yet, it’s unlikely MLB will have any issues with Sherman at the helm of the franchise, considering they’ve already vetted for the Indians stake. Yet, if this drags out for some reason, hiring a new manager and walking into free agency with the sale in limbo could be problematic for Moore. Yet sources site this deal could be approved by MLB owners in November.

Though for those that fear an unlikely delay, it’s probable before the paper is dry on the deal. By then, Moore and Sherman should have an understanding as to the direction of the franchise and next year’s budget that will include $50 million in excess TV money for an expanded payroll.

For the great baseball fans of Kansas City who don’t like Glass, and for those that do, this move should be celebrated. Glass makes a world of riches, saves his kids from massive inherited taxes, and cashes out after delivering a World Series title and hiring one of the best general managers around.

Glass delivering the franchise’s second World Series crown and not relocating elsewhere should earn the respect of this fanbase. A man of honor, Glass actually did the job asked of him by Ewing Kauffman which benefited every fan of the Royals.

At 84, he’s ready to cash out.

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