Ownership Changes Have Catalyzed Success in MLB
KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The Royals are having a successful August against a stiff schedule, posting a 14-10 record mostly against teams that are racing for the playoffs. What’s making more news for the Royals is a newspaper ad airing out grievances against owner David Glass in the Kansas City Star.
The ad was paid for by a group raising funds on a website called no-more-glass.com, and their next move is to print t-shirts and pay for a banner to fly over Kauffman Stadium.
However, Royals fans don’t need to see an airborne banner telling them they need a new owner, they need to pay attention to how new ownership has changed the fortunes for the Texas Rangers and Los Angeles Dodgers.
Both the Rangers and Dodgers went through dismal ownership situations where Major League Baseball stepped in and took control from non-committed owners. They both benefited almost instantly once baseball sold them to dedicated ownership groups. These teams are also using former sports superstars as its front men to show the public a new commitment, all of it a very timely guide for disgruntled Royals fans.
The Dodgers are now flush with cash after Guggenheim Baseball, headed by former NBA star Magic Johnson, purchased the team for $2 billion. The sale enabled the Dodgers to make moves that increased payroll and have made them a contender for the National League pennant. They started by trading for disgruntled star Hanley Ramirez from the Miami Marlins and this weekend they completed a blockbuster deal with the Boston Red Sox. In exchange for prospects the Dodgers got a package highlighted by Adrian Gonzalez, Josh Beckett and Carl Crawford.
While the move may be costly in terms of dollars and prospects, it makes the Dodgers a legitimate threat to win the National League this year. This move bolsters a team that already had a few key pieces in place with Matt Kemp and last year’s NL Cy Young winner, Clayton Kershaw.
Without the right ownership in place this deal would not have happened, as these trades have significantly inflated the Dodgers’ payroll for this year and years down the road.
The Texas Rangers are two-time defending American League champions and have had more time than the Dodgers to build its roster but have similarly bolstered their roster through trades.
In 2010 when the Rangers were acquired by a group led by MLB Hall of Famer Nolan Ryan, they already had a core group in place of players like Josh Hamilton, Ian Kinsler and Nelson Cruz. New bosses allowed them to make a move for left-handed pitcher Cliff Lee, which helped push them into the World Series.
Also, the past two years they’ve made big off-season moves to bring in all-star Adrian Beltre and Japanese pitching star Yu Darvish. Beltre was pivotal in leading them back to the 2011 World Series and Darvish is expected to play a key role in the Rangers’ rotation during the stretch run.
This organization was once known for the abysmal free agency acquisitions, like the 10-year, $252 million Alex Rodriguez contract. Now they spend money, but mostly on younger, controllable core players that fit into their system. They’ve also developed a reputation for being a shrewd organization in the trade market.
While most of the credit for their successful recent trade history should go to Jon Daniels, he’s been afforded the ability to do a good job because he has had flexibility to add payroll.
So where does this leave the Royals? If Glass were to sell the Royals, this team has the blueprint to follow in the footsteps of the Rangers and Dodgers. They have a good young core of Billy Butler, Eric Hosmer and Mike Moustakas to build around. A new owner could allow the general manager, Dayton Moore or whoever, to utilize the Royals’ farm system to make a trade or two for the pitching that the Royals have desperately needed. It could also make the Royals a player in free agency, both in terms of bringing in new talent and retaining existing talent that has too often walked away in the past.
Any prospective new owner would be smart to bring in a Royals legend as a front man, George Brett easily comes to mind.
For now though, it’s all a dream, and those dreams fall at the feet of a man who doesn’t often find himself seated amongst the faithful at Kauffman Stadium.