Some big news struck baseball Twitter a few nights ago. Ken Rosenthal and Jeff Passan reported that Royals owner David Glass is looking to sell the team, with the main focus being one Indians Vice-Chairman and Kansas City businessman John Sherman.
This news came out of nowhere and was received as pretty surprising to myself and many others. It was no secret that Glass was getting old and that a shift in ownership needed to be discussed, but the general assumption is that the next team owner would be his son Dan— the current Royals team president. But as Sam Mellinger at the Kansas City Star recently reported, that was never the feeling with sources closer to the situation.
He has not had influence on major baseball decisions for some time and is generally held in higher regard now than when he did. Over the years, the picture of Dan from various sources has been of a well-intentioned man who wants the best for the Royals but would be overmatched as their owner.
That might sound more personal than intended. It’s just business, and the message from many who’ve worked with Dan over the years has been clear: nice enough guy, not ownership material.
As a Royals fan, I took this news as nothing short of fantastic. I can’t sit here and tell you all the things I know about John Sherman, because I know very little. If he ends up buying the Royals, I don’t know how much he’ll spend, I don’t know what changes he’ll make, and I don’t know how he’ll run the organization. But he’s succeeding an owner that a) was very scarcely involved with the Royals and Kansas City, b) slashed payroll constantly, c) spent very little, even though he’s likely to turn a $96 million investment into over a billion dollars, and d) ran a terrible organization for 95 percent of his tenure.
Sherman has a low bar to clear as an owner to make the organization’s future better. During The Glass Era, the Royals lost more games than any other franchise in baseball. He took priority in keeping a low payroll over paying Carlos Beltrán. After winning a World Series in 2015, there was still a hesitance to add payroll.
The legacy of Glass in Kansas City is a complicated one, for fair reason. The runs the Royals made in 2014 and 2015 (and to his credit, he did add payroll when it mattered most, taking on the contracts of Ben Zobrist and Johnny Cueto mid-season) may have salvaged a good portion of the negativity around his tenure, but even with how amazing those few seasons were, they couldn’t get rid of it all. There’s a reason why the Royals went two decades before playing in a postseason game under his ownership. It didn’t have to be like that.
It has now been reported that Glass is selling the team due to health issues. Myself and many others will certainly have the best wishes for him and his family, but all-in-all, this move is probably for the best. With new ownership likely coming within the next couple of months, this upcoming offseason and the few seasons that follow definitely become more interesting. Changes are common when new ownership comes in— something that wasn’t really thought to come in the near future under Glass. I can’t say for sure what the results will be, but this change should probably taken as a positive, for now.