Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Rumors And Repercussions.

Stop me if you’ve heard me say this before: the more I try to give Dayton Moore and the Royals the benefit of the doubt, the more they try to make me look like an idiot for doing so.

There are valid reasons to be skeptical about the additions of Ervin Santana and Jeremy Guthrie – while both have a track record of success, they both have red flags as well. They’re both coming off poor seasons, albeit with excuses. But I decided not to be critical of either addition, in large part because neither pitcher cost the Royals to dip into their farm system (Brandon Sisk notwithstanding). If adding Santana and Guthrie kept Moore from being tempted to trade a part of his core lineup to improve his rotation, that was a significant fringe benefit.

And now we read this.

There’s a season’s worth of epic fail just in the first paragraph. “Is outfield prospect Wil Myers worth a veteran pitcher who would instantly go to the front of the Royals’ rotation, such as Tampa Bay’s James Shields or Boston’s Jon Lester? If so, how will the club clear sufficient payroll space to stay within its soft $70 million ceiling?”

The answers to those two questions are “HELL NO!” and “wait, soft WHAT?!”

Later in the column, Bob Dutton writes, “is either worth considering from the Royals’ perspective. In effect, are two years of Shields or Lester worth six of Myers?”

No. No. No.

(I want to make something clear: I’m not shooting the messenger here, just the message. Dutton does the job of beat writer so well that it can be hard to tell where the Royals’ opinions stop and where his starts.)

First off, you’re not trading six years of Wil Myers – if you’re smart, you’re trading about 6.9 years. Having made it this far without promoting him to the majors, you have every incentive to start him in Omaha, bring him up in late April, and then delay his free agency until after the 2019 season. Believe me, if he gets traded to Tampa Bay, that’s exactly how they’ll play it out. (Actually, if he gets traded to Tampa Bay, the odds are at least 50/50 that they’ll take my advice and sign him to an Evan Longoria deal. After all, they’re the ones who signed Evan Longoria to an Evan Longoria deal.)

So you trade 6.9 years of Wil Myers for two years of Jon Lester. Two expensive years of Jon Lester. Lester makes $11.625 million next year, with a club option for 2014 at $13 million. In 2014, that would make Lester the most expensive player in Royals history.

That’s fine if you’re getting a quality starter, and for most of his career, he’s been exactly that. Lester became a full-time starter for the Red Sox in 2008, threw a no-hitter against the Royals early in the season, and finished with a 3.21 ERA in 210 innings. His ERAs from 2008 through 2011 read 3.21, 3.41, 3.25, and 3.47, making at least 31 starts each year, pitching in the AL East. He wasn’t an ace, but he was the next-best thing, a top-of-the-line #2 starter. And if the Royals could acquire last year’s Lester, with three years of club control, I wouldn’t be losing my mind about the possibility of trading Myers for him.

But in 2012 he not only used up a year of club control, he had his worst season in the majors, with his ERA jumping to 4.82, and his strikeout rate dropping to 18.9%, from 22.8% the year before and 26.4% from 2009-2010. He might well rebound – the Red Sox were Dysfunction Central in 2012, and Lester was at the center of that. He still took the ball every fifth day. But his velocity has slowly crept downwards, from 93.5 mph in 2009 and 2010 to 92.0 in 2012.

I think Lester is a good candidate to bounce back, and in fact think he would be a fine buy-low candidate. But this isn’t buying low. This is paying steak prices for mystery meat, and hoping it turns out to be filet mignon.

It’s not even clear that trading Myers for Lester would help the Royals in 2013. If Myers goes, then you can expect Jeff Francoeur to get 600 plate appearances come hell or high OBP. The upgrade from Francoeur to even a league-average performance from Myers would be at least four wins. If Lester only bounces back halfway to his previous form, giving the Royals 200 innings but an ERA around 4, that’s only worth about four wins. That’s a wash, while adding $11 million to the payroll.

Oh, and if by some chance Lester has the best season of his career, puts up an ERA in the mid-2s and wins 18 games and finishes first or second in the Cy Young vote? Per a clause in his contract, his 2014 option would be voided, and he’d be a free agent after just one season.

(I feel compelled to suggest a deeply Machiavellian counter-response. If Lester is tearing up the league at mid-season, and the Royals – or Red Sox, if he’s not traded – are not in contention, there’s a simple way to ensure that he won’t be able to opt out of his 2014 contract: trade him to an NL team. His split-league performance will keep him from doing well in either Cy Young vote – look at C.C. Sabathia’s 2008 performance as an example – and keep him under contract for another season with his new team, which will therefore be willing to pay in prospects accordingly.)

Moore wants to add at least one more impact arm and would prefer to do so by trading prospects from the club’s farm system rather than deal someone off the major-league roster.

What really puts the folly of trading for Lester into focus is this: if Moore really wants to add one more impact arm, and has the ability to add Lester’s contract to the payroll, HE DOESN’T HAVE TO TRADE FOR A PITCHER. He can simply sign another one as a free agent.

Jon Lester is owed $24.625 million over the next two years. I’m going on record now as predicting that Shaun Marcum, when he signs in the next few weeks, will not be paid as much over the next two years. I’m confident about this because the Brewers declined to make Marcum a qualifying offer. They could have offered Marcum a 1-year, $13.3 million contract, knowing that if he turned it down, they would have received a supplemental draft pick in compensation. That they did not do so strongly suggests that they were concerned Marcum would accept their offer – and they weren’t willing to commit that much money, even for one year.

I expect Marcum to sign for something like $20 million for two years. Maybe he’ll get a three-year deal for less money, for similar to what Jeremy Guthrie got. But basically, if the Royals can afford to take on Jon Lester’s contract, they can afford to make the best offer to Marcum.

Gun to my head, I’d rather have Lester over Marcum over the next two years, simply because Lester has shown more durability. But it’s awfully close. The difference between Lester and Marcum might be, what, one win a season? And for that one win, you’d trade one of the five best prospects in all of baseball? Are you insane?

James Shields is a more valuable commodity than Lester. He’s thrown 477 innings over the last two years with a 3.15 ERA. (Although keep in mind that he had a 5.18 ERA in 2010.) His strikeout rate continues to tick up, this past year reaching 23.6%, and his command has always been excellent. Like Lester, he’s signed for 2013 with a  2014 option, but there’s no voiding option, and he’s cheaper - $9 million in 2013, $12 million in 2014.

But he pitches for the Rays, in one of the best pitchers’ parks in the game, in front of one of the defenses in the game, for one of the best managers in the game. If you take him out of that organization, he doesn’t bring all of those advantages with him. He would give the Royals a ton of innings and a solid ERA in the mid-3s. But he’s not an ace, and it would be crazy to trade Wil Myers for two years of a #2 starter.

My God, has everyone forgotten what happened last winter? The New York Yankees traded Jesus Montero for Michael Pineda. Pineda, like Lester and Shields, was an established #2 starter in the majors. He had a 3.74 ERA as a rookie, struck out over a man an inning, and made the All-Star team. For Montero, they didn’t get two years of Pineda – they got FIVE years of Pineda.

The similarities between Montero last year and Myers today are almost frightening. Montero was the #6 prospect in the game by Baseball America; Myers will, I predict, rank #4 on their list, behind only Jurickson Profar, Dylan Bundy, and Oscar Taveras. Both Montero and Myers were bat-first prospects who started their careers at catcher. Myers is more athletic, and is expected to have more defensive value in the long run as an outfielder; Montero still catches occasionally, but is expected to give that up eventually and wind up as a 1B/DH.

Myers’ career line in the minors is .303/.395/.522. Montero’s career line in the minors is .308/.366/.501.

As a 21-year-old in Triple-A, Montero hit .288/.348/.467 – but hit .328/.406/.590 in an 18-game callup in September. As a 21-year-old in Triple-A, Myers hit .304/.378/.554 (and hit .343/.414/.731 in Double-A for a month first). You can make a case for either player, but basically, Wil Myers today has almost exactly the same value as Jesus Montero had a year ago.

For Jesus Montero, the Yankees got five years of an established major-league starter, who was still two years away from being arbitration-eligible. And they also got a promising second prospect, Jose Campos, who allowed less than a baserunner an inning as an 18-year-old pitching in the Northwest League. (The Yankees tossed Hector Noesi into the deal; Noesi had a 5.82 ERA for the Mariners this year, and is a non-entity at this point.)

The people arguing that the Royals should trade Wil Myers for a starting pitcher make the case that even the best prospects aren’t a sure thing, and that Myers might wind up being a big disappointment in 2013. They’re right. He could end up doing what Jesus Montero did this year – Montero hit .260/.298/.386 while playing every day for the Mariners.

And guess what? THEY’D STILL MAKE THE TRADE AGAIN. They traded a 22-year-old starter with five years of service time, and a quality second arm, for Montero, watched as Montero stunk up the joint, and at least right now, they’ve clearly won the trade. Because Pineda, of course, tore up his rotator cuff in spring training, missed the entire season, and no one knows what his stuff will be like when he returns.

And now you’re telling me the Royals are even thinking of trading Wil Myers for two expensive seasons from a #2 starting pitcher? Are you insane?

Or just look at what the Royals got for Zack Greinke. They got Alcides Escobar, the #12 prospect in baseball a year before, but whose stock had dropped considerably after hitting .235 as a rookie. They got Jake Odorizzi, who was ranked the #69 prospect in baseball after the trade. They got Lorenzo Cain and Jeremy Jeffress, neither of whom were Top 100 prospects. I’ll take liberties here and call Cain and Escobar “prospects” even though they had exhausted their rookie status, and say that the Royals traded Greinke into a Top 50 prospect, a 51-100 prospect, a 101-150 prospect, and a 151-200 prospect.

Any retrospective analysis of prospect lists will lead you to the conclusion that you’d rather have a single Top 10 prospect – particularly a hitting prospect – than the four guys above. Wil Myers alone is worth more than the four guys that they got for Zack Greinke.

And by the way, Jon Lester and James Shields are not Zack Greinke. Greinke was a year removed from the most dominant season by any starting pitcher since Pedro Martinez in 2000. In his down year in 2010, he had just a 4.17 ERA – better than Lester this season – and 181 Ks against just 55 walks, while pitching the second half of the season like he’d rather be digging ditches than on the mound at Kauffman Stadium. He was still worth 3.2 Wins Above Replacement. By comparison, in 2012, Shields was only worth 2.2 WAR, and Lester was at 0.4.

If anything, the Brewers were willing to overpay for Greinke, because the way their roster was set up – with Prince Fielder set to be a free agent in two years – they felt that their best chance to win was immediately. That’s one of the reasons I was so optimistic about the trade initially – because the Brewers seemed to have an incentive to overpay in future talent in order to acquire talent in the here and now.

So to recap: two years ago, the Brewers – who were pushing to win right away – overpaid to acquire Zack Greinke. They still gave up less talent to acquire a better pitcher than the Royals would give up to acquire Jon Lester or James Shields.

Are the Royals insane?

Maybe there’s nothing to this. As a friend pointed out, virtually every significant move the Royals have made under Dayton Moore was not leaked beforehand. If you’re an optimist, you might even convince yourself that the fact we’re talking about Lester and Shields means the Royals won’t trade for either player. But it’s clear they want to add another starter, and it’s clear that they’re willing to do so by any means necessary.

And it worries me that for the first time, we have a case of moral hazard on our hands. Moral hazard refers to what happens when an individual takes risks knowing that they won’t suffer the downside if their gamble goes sour. (c.f. Every bank in America during the housing bubble.) In this case, Dayton Moore knows that if the Royals don’t start winning in 2013, he’s probably out of a job. So the risk that Wil Myers becomes a superstar in 2015 is, to him, less concerning than the risk that the Royals will win 79 games in 2013 instead of 83.

This isn’t something unique to Moore – every GM or manager approaching the end of their contract will have their interests focused on the short term more than the organization as a whole should. And until now, Moore has done a good job – maybe too good a job – of focusing on the long term, by concentrating on high school talent in the draft, spending millions on 16-year-olds in Latin America, etc.

But if he trades Wil Myers for a two-year pitcher, he’s sacrificing the organization’s ability to contend from 2015 through 2019 for a short-term gain. That would be fine if the Royals are where the Brewers were two years ago – but they’re not. This is a team that should continue to improve for the next 3-4 years, at least until Alex Gordon and Billy Butler are eligible for free agency, if not until Eric Hosmer and Mike Moustakas do the same.

I have advocated that the Royals make a play for 2013, because I think they have a chance to contend next year if they play their cards right. But not at the expensive of sacrificing their long-term future. Trading Jorge Bonifacio or Jason Adam is one thing. Trading Wil Myers is quite another. If you can’t get an ace (David Price), or at least a cost-controlled pitcher with years of service time (Jeremy Hellickson, although even he’s not enough), then you don’t do it. It’s as simple as that.

And after all that, it’s time to talk about the really depressing part of Dutton’s column, the part about the “soft $70 million ceiling”. There have been signs that the Royals’ payroll has been capped at that point for over a year, but I’ve tried my best to ignore it, because I’ve stubbornly believed that ownership could not possibly be so dumb as to claim that they can’t afford to spend more than $70 million in payroll. They couldn’t possibly be so dumb as to think that the fans would buy it.

Last month I finally came down on the Royals for crying poverty, and now, finally, the artillery is coming out everywhere. To recap:

- The Royals had a payroll in excess of $70 million in 2009, and again in 2010.

- Revenue is going up throughout the sport at a breakneck pace.

- National TV revenue goes up by about $26 million starting in 2014.

- The Royals are limited from spending as much on amateur talent acquisition as they used to by the new CBA.

Given those four facts, in what universe are the Royals limited to a $70 million payroll?

Here’s a real quick accounting of revenue:

- Starting in 2014, every team in MLB will earn a total of $50 million from the national TV contract.

- The Royals, even saddled with a long-term local TV deal that was signed before the money explosion, still earn $20 million annually from their deal.

That’s $70 million right there, which would cover payroll. True, the Royals have non-payroll expenses, employees, draft picks, minor leagues, etc. But then consider:

- If we conservatively assume attendance of 1.6 million, and conservatively assume an average of $30 spent per attendee on tickets, concessions, parking, etc – that’s $48 million.

And THEN we have to remember that the Royals are one of the prime beneficiaries of MLB’s revenue sharing, which brings in tens of millions of dollars to the organization. That enormous $250 million a year TV contract the Dodgers are signing? 34% of that goes to a central fund. If that’s distributed evenly to all 30 teams, that means the Royals will earn $3 million just from the Dodgers’ TV deal. And I’m pretty sure it’s not distributed evenly – the lower-revenue teams get more of the central fund money.

Put it together, and Forbes estimates that the Royals had $161 million in revenue in 2011. Throw in the new TV contract and the rise in ticket prices, and we’re talking about over $200 million in revenue in 2014.

And they have a $70 million ceiling. But hey, it’s “soft”, so it’s all good.

It’s time to take the gloves off. Sam Mellinger did a fine job in today’s paper, but honestly, he could have been even harder on the Glass family, and not just because the Star prohibits the use of profanity. Saying the Royals could “extend the payroll to at least $75 million and as much as $80 million” is entirely too kind – based on the publicly available numbers, the Royals can go to $85 million easy. And it’s not because “Glass and the Royals have saved more than enough he last few years” – it’s because even at $85 million, the Glass family should do no worse than break even, and probably still turn a tidy profit.

The game is swimming in cash, and a rising tide lifts all boats, even the little dinghy that the Royals live on. If David Glass thinks he can’t afford to spend more than $70 million in payroll, then he’s incredibly cheap. If he thinks that the fans will believe that he can’t afford to spend more than $70 million in payroll, then he’s incredibly cynical.

I’d like to believe he’s neither, because I’m a charitable sort. But in the coming days, we’re going to find out if he actually cares about winning, or if he’s just Jeffrey Loria without the tacky taste in home run sculptures.

If the Royals extend the payroll to even $80 million, they still have plenty of space to work with. I’ve finally done a complete analysis of their payroll obligations, and right now their 2013 payroll looks to be around $67 million. (There’s some disagreement over exactly how Jeff Francoeur’s contract breaks down, and I can only guess at what Aaron Crow will make, given that he’s not arbitration-eligible but signed a major-league contract out of the draft.)

But comments like these: “The truth of the matter,” Moore said, “is if we add another pitcher…there wouldn’t be room to add that individual unless we got rid of somebody else.” – make it sound like $80 million is out of the question. Which is utterly, completely indefensible.

Even at $70 million, the Royals can add another player, since “somebody else” can easily be Luke Hochevar and his $4.4 million obligation. But the margin for error is tiny, and it leads to desperate ideas like possibly cutting Felipe Paulino and his $2.7 million contract.

Which circles us back to where we started: if you’re really limited to a $70 million payroll, then there is NOTHING more valuable to you than a star prospect who’s ready to step onto your roster, and be paid the major league minimum for the next three years. If, instead, you prefer to commit almost $25 million over the next two years to a starting pitcher coming off a bad season, then you understand nothing about economics, or even basic math.

This could be a tempest in a teapot. But this could also be the prelude to a franchise-altering mistake. The Royals have the resources to add one more starting pitcher using the same method they added their last starting pitcher, through free agency. If, through stinginess or short-sightedness, they trade their best prospect instead, it’s going to be open season on the organization, and I have my shotgun at the ready.

48 comments:

Darral Van Goethem said...

I am PISSED that Dayton Moore is publicly stating whenever possible that their payroll ceiling is $70mil for ’12. So pissed that if they don’t do what’s right (and I am going to explain my definition of that below) I will not follow them EVER AGAIN as long as Glass is the owner. I tweeted my thoughts in a succession of tweets but I am going to lay it out for you guys too.

I have been looking at their payroll history and they underspent last yr by $31.5 mil compared to their 4yr avg from '07-'10. Avg during that time period was $67.25mil.

You can assume that the $67.5mil is basically the ceiling that Dayton Moore is talking about. So, since they underspent by that much in ’11 they theoretically have that money to spend this season. So, to find out what they can really “afford” in ’12 you need to take their average, or “ceiling”, of $67.5mil and add $31.5mil to that. Making their real payroll affordability for ’12 of just under $100mil.

Right now they have $61.4mil committed for ’12 to their 25 man roster. That is with Hochevar at $3.5mil committed. They shouldn’t offer him arbitration and let him walk, saving that $3.5mil and bringing their new committed amount to $57.9mil. Meaning they still have $42.1mil to spend in ’12 to get back to their spending average that they have had since Dayton Moore took over.

Now, before they can just go nuts and spend that $42.1mil. They need to structure their contracts for ’13 & beyond so that they don’t go over their average payroll figures. The interesting thing is that starting in ’14 they will receive an extra $13mil/yr from the MLB general fund due to the new TV contracts that MLB signed, which guarantee each team the aforementioned $13mil/yr. That is an extra $13mil/yr. So their new average should go up by that amount from $67.5mil to $80mil/yr.

Darral Van Goethem said...

Now, knowing that, here are the moves they need to make. After each move I will show you what the Royals payroll will be in 2012 and 2013 & beyond after each deal. Keep in mind that their 2013 payroll should be at about $100mil, their 2014-beyond payroll should be about $80mil:

Anibal Sanchez is said to be looking for 6yrs/$90mil. Whether he gets that or not is up for debate but let’s just use those numbers for my scenario. If they sign him to those numbers they need to front load the deal so that he is paid $20mil/yr for the first two years of the contract then give him $12.5mil the last 4 yrs of the contract. That $12.5 mil is exactly what Santana’s contract pays this season and will come off the books in ’13.
Royals payroll for 2013 after signing this deal = $77.9 mil
Royals payroll for 2014 & beyond after signing this deal = $65.9 mil

Trade Wil Myer’s & Prospects to The Rays for David Price. If you put together a deal similar to the Greinke deal for Price The Rays will take it. The Royals have those pieces. Wil Myer’s with the bat. A shortstop prospect ? The Royals have 5 legit SS prospects. They have a couple of low minors arms that are comparable to what Odorizzi at the time of the Greinke deal and they have a TON of major league ready relievers in their system, similar to what everyone thought Jeffress was when the trade went down. You may even be able to save some money by also including Chen in the deal. The best part about getting Price other than the fact that he is a LEGIT ACE is that the Royals would control him through 2015!! His salary for next season will be about $9mil after his first year of arbitration. After that it will go up in ’14 to probably about $14mil &’15 to about $16mil through arbitration.
Royals payroll for 2013 after making this trade = $81.9 mil
Royals payroll for 2014 after making this trade = $74.9 mil
Royals payroll for 2015 after making this trade = $78.9 mil

(Optional but preferred move) Now that they have traded Myers they need to sign a veteran RFer like Ryan Ludwick or Cody Ross and eat the last year of Frenchy’s deal. They have the money. Maybe platoon Frenchy and this signing in RF. They will have to do this for the next couple of years, however as there is not another corner OFer ready for the Majors in their system after trading Myers.
Royals payroll for 2013 after making this move = $86 mil
Royals payroll for 2014 after making this move = $80 mil
Royals payroll for 2015 after making this move = $82 mil

I did not address possible arbitration raises for their core young players like Moose, Hosmer and their ‘pen so their 2014 & 2015 payroll may balloon a bit but probably still won’t go over $90 mil in those years.

So, let me recap. Their 2013 team would look like this:

Rotation:
#1 David Price
#2 Anibal Sanchez
#3 Jeremy Guthrie
#4 Ervin Santana
#5 Mendoza/Smith/Odorizzi

‘Pen:
What it was at the end of last season

Position Players:
Gordon
Butler
Cain/Dyson
Frenchy/Vet RFer
Hosmer
Gio/Falu/Abreu
Esky
Moose
Salvy

That is a team that, I think, wins the division in 2013 with that pitching rotation.

This is what their team would look like in 2014:

Rotation:
#1 David Price
#2 Anibal Sanchez
#3 Jeremy Guthrie
#4 Odorizzi
#5 Duffy/Paulino/Prospects

Position Players:
Gordon
Butler
Cain/Dyson
Frenchy/Vet RFer
Hosmer
Gio/Falu/Abreu
Esky
Moose
Salvy

This is what it would look like in 2015:

Rotation:
#1 David Price
#2 Anibal Sanchez
#3 Jeremy Guthrie or he could be just dropped due to production/Odorizzi
#4 Odorizzi/Duffy
#5 Odorizzi/Duffy/Prospects

Position Players:
Gordon
Butler
Cain/Dyson
Frenchy/Vet RFer
Hosmer
Gio/Falu/Abreu
Esky
Moose
Salvy

Alas, I just woke up from my dream and it will NEVER happen!! Oh, and I am bored at work!! HAHA!!

George said...

I don't care much about football, but what little concern I can muster leads me to root against the team on the other side of the parking lot because I would like to see their management go.

I can wait out a bad GM, but not a bad owner. If a $70 million soft cap is for real, and it leads them to do something this stupid, then I'm done buying tickets.

I thought the whole things sounded incredibly stupid, but you've shown just how stupid it is. Maybe the rumors are a trial balloon to test fan response.

Adam Wright said...

Sad truths. Though they were all major leaguers when they departed, I fear that Myers is headed the way of Beltran, Damon, Dye etc.. This was WAY less "angry Rany" than I expected. Well done.

midkanroyal said...

Is it possible Myers is being dangled to bring out all the serious teams with pitchers that are on the block and then Moore just pulls Myers back and works out a deal with lesser prospects?

Adam Wright said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
jjhochunk said...

That's what I'm talking about. This is why I've read Rany's work all these years. Well done.

Sean Madden said...

Glass is a joke and Moore is taking this to the media to show the constraints he is under

KCinNC said...

And if $70m really is your own self-imposed salary cap, then $12m on Santana and $8.3m per year on Guthrie really is idiocy. If $70m turns out to be the cap, then the Royals/GMDM really are both cheap and stupid.

KCinNC said...

And if $70m really is your own self-imposed salary cap, then $12m on Santana and $8.3m per year on Guthrie really is idiocy. If $70m turns out to be the cap, then the Royals/GMDM really are both cheap and stupid.

Royals said...

I think all of the hoopla over the 70 mil cap is an over reaction to a general statement that shouldn't be taken at face value. Remember when Moore made the comments about payroll after the Volstad claiming? Everyone got all up in arms after that and he has since turned around and added Santana and Guthrie. We can't jump the gun until the season starts and we see what the final payroll is. I, for one, don't think Moore is stupid enough to trade Myers for a short term rental. I think he is trying to drum up more interest. And I expect the Braves to come strong on Myers. How about a Minor, Teheran, Hanson package?

Royals said...

Also, say Myers does get traded for Lester or Shields and they make the post-season. Would that be worth it or is it World Series or bust?

Dan Scott said...

I am so glad so many Royals bloggers are calling attention to this. I'm curious how much money the Royals profited from the All-Star game this year. And why in the world wouldn't the $12 million Gil Meche gave them this year have been banked. That money should be available for the 2013 payroll. Between the AS game profit, Meche charity, dollars that were previously used on the draft, Revenue sharing, the new TV contracts, PLUS the statement Glass previously made about being willing to "break even" if it means contending, I don't see why the payroll shouldn't be $100 million honestly.

To hear quotes of $70 million really makes my blood boil.

Rufus R. Jones said...

I, too, believe that leaking this to the media is Dayton's way of showing the fans and media that he is under seriously unreasonable constraints.

Rufus R. Jones said...

I, too, believe that leaking this to the media is Dayton's way of showing the fans and media that he is under seriously unreasonable constraints.

Gabe said...

I propose that we get our elected officials to force a Green Bay Packers situation, where the team is bought from the Glasses and becomes a public entity.
Do I think that's realistic? Of course not, but I think the odd's of that are far greater than the odds of C. Montgomery Glass doing anything other than steal money from committed fans who have no other ability to influence any positive change.

KCDC said...

Even when you're angry, Rany, your commentary still feels more cordial and professional than the idiocy of the Royals management demands. I'm not sure whether the inability to rip this team apart in writing reflects your good-natured personality or whether it's a consequence of the fact that we as fans just really don't have leverage to drive home the point.

We might name-call and air our grievences on blogs and talk radio, but we're not going to protest at the stadium, we can't get Moore fired, and we sure as hell can't kick Glass to the curb. If Loria's safe in Miami, the will of the fans is certainly toothless in Kansas City.

ChaimMKeller said...

Speaking of the "moral hazard", I was thinking that's true of Jeremy Guthrie's contract's third year. Dayton Moore's contract only runs through 2014. If Guthrie isn't part of what gets the Royals to contention by 2014, then he probably feels pretty safe that he won't have to deal with the matter of Guthrie's contract in payroll calculations for 2015.

twm said...

KCDC: we protest at the stadium by leaving it empty. KC attendence usually ranks among the five worst in MLB.

Kris Alan Higdon said...

If GMDM trades Myers for a pitcher straight up it better be Moore or Bumbgardner.

Kris Alan Higdon said...

If GMDM trades Myers for a pitcher straight up it better be Moore or Bumbgardner.

Bryan said...

Glass needs to be held accountable for his comments.

He says they are not trying to make money on the team. If that is really the truth, then he needs to invest the 250MM plus in equity that has been gained.

It is obviously not the truth.

If he wants to make money, more power to him. But don't out and out lie about the basic finances of the team.

ONe question I would like to see asked of Glass also, is why didn't he fight harder to not allow the limit placed on draft spending. This limit really seems to harm smaller markets and I have not seen one comment from him on this subject. Why wouldn't he have fought to have this removed from the CBA?

Kibo said...

Don't you think even this advantage would have been lost very soon? Dodgers would have started dropping big bucks in this area as well.

Chris said...
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Chris said...
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MSUngaKC1 said...

If we thought Rany was up-in-arms over recent Glass/Moore comments, just wait until he takes apart Glass' comments in the Star today; "From the time we've owned the team until now,accumulatively we've done no better than break even. We've actually subsidizedit slightly during that period of time." He goes on to talk about spending $20 - $30 mill in amateur bonuses (oops, less than half that in '12 and the new rules force the same going forward) and that "if you add what we're spending on amateur bonuses to our salaries, we're spending a lot of money."

Talk about word-smithing! I'm guessing in some weird baseball ownership sort of accounting system (which is different from the system most of us live in and the one that Forbes uses!), his claim of actually subsidizing the team probably has a shred of truth (but just a shred). He never spent anywhere near $30 mill in amateur bonuses in a single year, but since he did spend over $20 mill, than I guess his statement can be conceived as factual. And yes, he is spending a lot of money, but he's also taking in a whole lot more (see Rany column) and spending far less than almost any other organization (I use the term "organize" loosely when referring to the Royals).

The main issue with "average-Joe" baseball fan is that they read Glass' comments and probably take them at face value, but don't read internet articles/blogs that cry "foul". I really hope Mellinger or some other savvy scribe takes apart Glass' comments in the Star where readers might get some balances views of reality.

Good luck GMDM!

Eric Stucki said...

twm: The only problem with protesting by "leaving it empty" is - who would notice? If there's nobody in the stadium now and there weren't people attending before, how will anyone know there's a protest?

My suggestion is to do the opposite. I'd like to fill the stadium up, and then have everyone walk out after the first pitch. Nobody buys any souvenirs or food. Just a big party in the parking lot during the game. It would have to be embarassing to the franchise to watch a stadium full of people disappear and have to play before an empty house.

Chris said...

Minor quibble, but under terms of the new CBA and the sale of the Dodgers, only up to 84MM of their new TV deal is subject to revenue sharing at 34%. If they get 250MM a year in TV money, they only have to contribute 28.5MM into the revenue sharing pool and get to keep the rest, which is why they are spending like drunken sailors and widening the gap in MLB spending.

twm said...

What caught my eye in Glass's comment was when he claimed that he is willing to spend "whatever money the franchise generates". Intentionally ambiguous phrasing always gets my dander up, and this phrasing seems designed to obfuscate.

Fast Eddie said...


From MLB Trade Rumors: "The Royals have talked to the Mets about R.A. Dickey as they continue to search for a top-of-the-rotation starter"
-- this is what I've been hoping for. The Mets seem to undervalue Dickey because of his age. As a knuckleballer, he's just hitting his stride and is just what the Royals need, in my opinion. Mets want catcher & outfielder, though.

kcghost said...

The only reason to dangle Myers out there is if Moore & Company believe that he isn't going to make it at the ML level.

Once Myers is out of the farm system we are out of guys who might be able to help us in 2013.

Chris Esch said...

Is it possible that this just a lot of noise to create favorable trading situations?

And the thing that angers me most about all this money talk? All the projections are based on what the team is doing right now. Their revenue/payroll is basically at its lowest possible point (for payroll, I mean their fictional break even point. Sur, they COULD lower it to $30-some million and pocket the rest). Is there any doubt that a playoff contending Royals team generates a revenue boost? I mean like $20, $30 million. I remember in 2003 when they got off to the hot start. My dad was in town and we decided to attend a Tuesday night game against the Tigers. I think they were just back from an undefeated road trip and a Monday off day. We left for the game at about 6:45. "Don't worry," I told my dad. "Nobody goes to games on a Tuesday."

We didn't get to our seats until the fourth inning.

Ken Harvey went to a knee for the game winning homer in extra innings. I think it was shortly thereafter when Denny said, "What is going on!" after a Rey Sanchez walk-off homer.

Anyways, it took two weeks to bring the fans back. I know the damage is deeper now, but contending at the all-star break would still do the trick, in my opinion.

It's called investing.

Matt Ungashick said...

How can Glass say he has broken even, when his initial investment of $90M has more than quadrupled? "Overspend" on a pitcher now, win the division and watch the value of your franchise go up even more. Painting himself as a martyr, as he claims to have dipped into his reserves, is so weak.

George said...

If these Dempter 2y/$26M and Feldman 1y/$4M rumors are true, how realistic is it that Zack Greinke gives KC a slight discount, and instead of the 6y/$150M demands, he signs to play here for something like 5y/$115-120M? Bleacher Report has the odds at 100:1 of him signing in KC. If all of these $ figures are true (on how much the Royals can spend, and how much they've been making over the years), it would seem we could afford him. Right?

Fast Eddie said...

Getz and Royals agree to 1 year contract.

twm said...

Angels just replaced Santana with Hanson and all it cost them was a reliever. With DM's history of trading with Atlanta I have to wonder why we didn't make this move. Seems like we could easily have matched Anaheim's offer and probably done better with one of our power arms in the bullpen. Sigh.

Loserville said...

This is why I did not renew my companies season tickets for last season and replaced them with Sporting KC tickets. The value for your dollar is so much more with Sporting than the Royals it is absurd. Glass is taking us to the cleaners and laughing all the way to the bank...

bannister19 said...

Rany, don't fool yourself. You've never given Dayton Moore the benefit of the doubt. At least, not in recent years. You say you are, but in your mind, regardless of the move they make, you are going to find the negative, find the downside of it, and believe it. Dayton Moore's problem is what he ISN'T doing, not what he's done.

Also, if the owner gives you a cap, as a GM, you take it and deal with it. It's how it is.

John said...

I've talked about this proposed deal on Red Sox sites already. It makes no sense to me, as a Red Sox fan. If Dayton Moore can afford to pay Jon Lester, then he should just sign one of the FA pitchers and be done with it. I'm sure the Red Sox would love to trade Lester for Wil Myers, put Myers into the lineup for 2013, then use Lester's salary to go sign a Dan Haren or Edwin Jackson to replace him.

If you're Boston, you love the idea, but it makes no sense for K.C.

Douglas said...

Shields has been #1 starter for last two seasons. http://www.draysbay.com/2012/10/30/3564018/2012-season-review-james-shields

After he tweaked his delivery, he added a few mph on his fastball putting him on nice little run in second half. His fastball, K/9, GB%, xFIP, FIP and everything else is career high comparing to his 2011 where he ended up 3rd in Cy young vote.

In his last two seasons, he averaged 3.24 xFIP and it will play well in Kauffman stadium plus he doesn't need to face hitters' heaven AL East teams in weekly basis.

2011 Shields:
FIP: 3.42
xFIP: 3.25
SIERA: 3.29
K/9: 8.12
BB/9: 2.35
GB%: 46.2
velocity: 91.0mph

2012 Shields:
FIP: 3.47
xFIP: 3.24
SIERA: 3.19
K/9: 8.82
BB/9: 2.29
GB%: 52.3
velocity: 92.3mph

Plus, this is his 2nd half number.
14G 104IP 109K 21BB 2.42ERA
OPS:.170 .226 .283

In the other writing, you've mentioned "Myers has enormous trade value, and is the one guy in the farm system that the Royals could essentially trade straight-up for an established starting pitcher who still has two or three years left on his contract. "

No Kershaw and Verlander type will come straight up with Myers. I can't think of better pitchers than Shields who would come straight up 1 on 1 trade with Myers. If Rays adds extra piece to balance the deal(outfielder Guyer or SP Niemann), I think it can easily be WIN-WIN for both side.

Douglas said...

Plus, Rays defense was horrible this year. Check out their fielding stats. Their UZR was about 10th among baseball but other notable stats suggesting their D was below average last season. How can a team with Brooks Conrad and Keppinger manning up 2B-3B while career 2B guy manning shortstop have an "elite" defense? Shields was a heavy groundballer this season and his stat took a huge hit due to weak infield defense this season.

Given his improved peripherals and career high velocity plus strong 2nd half number, if infield defense becomes as good as it was back in 2011 then Shields will mark 2.80-3.20 ERA.

andorgavin said...

Myers to d backs for Skaggs or Bauer nothing less. I'm not inclined to trade him, but at least send him to the NL.

Michael said...

I'd prefer Big Game James to the other alternatives, unless you can use Myers as the centerpiece of a package to get David Price or someone super elite like that.

Bleedingroyalblue said...

Dayton's used this tool with the media in the past, and its worked

Bleedingroyalblue said...

Rany we need your help! If you could use your resources to find quotes from Moore and Glass at the start of Dayton's tenure here when we went to the first "youth movement" and the payroll dropped considerably. The fans were up in arms and they came out with a plan to put the savings into an "escrow account" that they can use when we start winning or need it to resign the young kids when they hit FA. Remember the speech about you can go buy your kids a Gordon or a Butler jersey and expect to be able to wear it for a long time like we did George Brett. Said we shouldn't just spend money on FA just to keep the payroll up when the younger players abilities were not that far behind what we could get and we could put that savings into an "escrow account". Rany what we need from you is to ask what happened to the money in this "escrow account" and remind the fans before Dayton is pressured by Glass into doing something insanely stupid borrowing your example of robbing Peter to pay Paul in trading Meyers. We can win with our young bats and a dependable average pitching staff instill Duffy or someone else steps up. Shouldn't have to wait though because there should be millions in this "escrow account". Besides we wouldn't even have to go after a A type pitcher that would cost a draft pick anyway. Please help us Rany. The fans are desperate. Bring this to light and let there be so much backlash Glass sells the team. Sorry slipped into a dream there for a second, noway Glass sells this cash cow, especially with this new TV contract coming soon. Maybe he can be embarrassed enough to spend like a real MLB owner, oh wait I just remembered one of the outfielders from the past few yrs climbing the wall for a home run stealing catch ..... The ball bounced on the warning track. Ha he's used to being embarrassed. Oh we'll please try!!!!!

Unknown said...

Everyone who is upset about the team spending money, you should remember that a smart GM might decide to ramp up his spending in accordance with the team's chances. If GMDM doesn't think the Royals can contend this season, he might save money for next.

Suppose Glass set a limit of $500mil over 5 seasons, and the Royals' plan is to have a $120mil/yr payroll over 2014-2016. Then they would need to cap themselves around $70mil in 2012 and 2013. It could be greed, too, but we don't necessarily have the full story.

Unknown said...

They're not going to trade Wil Myers for either of those guys. Nobody from the team ever says in that article that they're going to do it. Nothing in Moore's past suggests even remotely that he'd do it. Frankly, when I read the article my first reaction was there was no news in it. There's no way a deal like that happens.

I don't get the vitriol for Moore. There have been dumb ML signings for sure, and his refusal to acknowledge the value of sabremetrics is frustrating, but when you look at what he's done to build the organization it's pretty overwhelmingly positive.

the development of the minor league system speaks for itself, but aside from that, there's the long term deals for Escobar and Perez, which were both great. Plus the trade of Greinke - that was a terrific haul for a pitcher that everybody knew we had to trade (I don't agree with Rany that the four guys in that deal combined are worse less than Myers. Let's cool down a little there.)

Butler is signed to a team-friendly deal (I think that was a Moore contract but could be wrong), Gordon is locked up, we have the youngest, most promising set of position players in the major leagues. We have a bullpen full of dominant young arms. The only thing we lack is starting pitching, which has as much to do with the crazy rash of Tommy John surgeries that hit the team over the last two years as anything else.

Yes, we're not winning. Yes, last year was tremendously disappointing. But this team is close. And Moore's done it without (by all accounts) the kind of ownership support his competitors enjoy. (See, soft $70 million payroll).

We get too wrapped up in the Guillen deal, the odd Willie Bloomquist fascination, and all the other strange major league moves he's made. I admit, those are frustrating as hell. But on balance, his work has been a resounding success.

Unknown said...

Instead of Myers for Shields, what if the Royals offered Hosmer for Matt Moore? That seems to make much more sense - both should have the same number of controllable years in front of them (or did Moore already get signed to an extension?)

I haven't looked at their contracts, but just off the top of my head that sounds like a fairer deal.