All the Royals need to do this offseason is figure out a way to afford or move on without some of their best players since George Brett, ramp up negotiations for a new television contract and stabilize the future of their front office and by extension on-field product.
Other than that, nothing much. Probably hit up Disney World, maybe catch up on some shows.
Eric Hosmer will largely guide how they navigate free agency, and the TV negotiations will take a while.
But owner David Glass can — and should — do what he can to secure the front office going forward.
It’s amazingly simple, requiring only a commitment from Glass.
The Braves are hiring Alex Anthopoulos as their new general manager and president of baseball operations. If there was any remaining doubt, Royals GM Dayton Moore will not be returning to the organization with which he spent 12 years before coming to Kansas City.
Glass had denied the Braves’ request to talk with Moore, so unless that was a way to negotiate compensation, this is all more formality than meaningful development.
But it should not be all that Glass does for the future of the Royals.
Because there will be more openings, in more places, for organizations that have more money to spend.
Moore was tied by many to the Braves’ opening for obvious reasons, but it’s also a bit of a misjudgment because that’s not the only place he could go. In many ways, it’s not the place he’d most want to go.
But for so many reasons, it’s time for Glass to make Kansas City the only place Moore wants to work.
Glass can avoid future speculation and internal uncertainty by making Moore president of baseball operations and allowing him to reinforce and build the rest of the front office to reflect the challenges in front of the club.
The same ambition the Royals took on 10 years ago needs to be refined and amplified now. That starts with making sure this is a place the best baseball minds want to work.
Because right now, people are talking. They are asking questions. Scouts and executives at other clubs are wondering why the GM of the only small-market team to win a World Series since the 1994 strike isn’t already president of baseball ops, isn’t already aware of and part of the succession plan with an 82-year-old owner.
Basically, why he isn’t already in a position where the owner can’t or — better yet — doesn’t feel the need to block Moore from talking to another club three years after saying he’d never block an employee from talking to another club.
Owning the Royals has done more for Glass than being owned by Glass has done for the Royals, so this isn’t even asking him to take any personal risk. It’s more like pointing out that he needs upkeep on his house.
Moore took over what everyone in baseball viewed as the sport’s worst organization and turned it into a world champion. Glass’ role was simple — make sure he didn’t take massive operating losses, but otherwise stay out of the way.
Moore has been far from perfect here. He took over the equivalent of a hot pile of lumpy mud, but it should not have taken until his seventh full season to achieve a winning record. He should not have paired Jose Guillen and Trey Hillman.
His drafts, player development and trades wrote one of modern baseball’s most unlikely stories with back-to-back pennants, but pretty much everything since the parade has been mush: Alex Gordon’s contract, Ian Kennedy’s opt-out, Chris Young’s contract, Joakim Soria, the (second) Wade Davis trade. You know the list.
The Royals have had exactly zero winning seasons out of the last two, and are poised to lose some of their best players in free agency.
But if Glass lost faith in Moore’s ability, he should’ve let him talk to the Braves, or at least used the opportunity to negotiate compensation.
By all appearances, he never did that, which would mean he’s taking the logical view that if he was looking for a new GM he’d be looking for Moore — someone he could work well with, a man with proven ability in rebuild projects and a commitment to Kansas City.
The club Glass initially purchased for the bargain price of $96 million is now estimated to be worth nearly $1 billion. Most of that ROI is because owning a major professional sports team is a foolproof business, but it’s no exaggeration to say the success and credibility the Royals have gained with Moore as GM has made Glass hundreds of millions of dollars.
As the Royals gained momentum and then success and ultimately a championship, many who worked for Glass talked about how the old man had changed. He’d learned. Things as basic as updating the organization’s software system from Lotus, and as grand as investing in Latin America and being willing to overspend in the draft.
It all played a part in the organization’s reshaping. The Royals created an analytics department, found Sal Perez and Kelvin Herrera, and spent big on Hosmer, Mike Moustakas, Wil Myers and others.
But that’s all in the past. The challenges of the next decade in baseball will be different than the last, and if Glass cuts payroll, pockets a new TV contract and fails to support the GM who saved his baseball reputation, it will be irrefutable proof he learned nothing from his time as baseball’s worst owner or the long path to respect.
This isn’t complicated. Glass just needs to show the commitment.