I'm not trying to start an internet feud with another Royals blog but seeing how Glass isn't likely to issue a response to this letter, I guess I might as well draft one for him.
Dear Kansas City Royals fans,
I actually do know all of you. Our new ticketing system logs your finger prints as you enter the stadium and we've developed a surveillance system that performs retina scans through your televisions as you watch games from home. (I like what you've done with your "Man Cave," Chuck!)
First of all, I resent you accusing me of attempting to turn the Royals into a "personal ATM." Perhaps you meant "human ATMs." I may or may not have sent Chris Getz to make a deposit here or there for me, but that's none of your business. And I'm neither confirming nor denying that I have asked players promoted from Double A Northwest Arkansas to Triple A Omaha to make withdrawals for me at my bank in Northwest Arkansas and drop the cash off at the Royals offices before they head to Omaha. And I'm certainly not verifying speculation that one of those players was one Johnny Giavotella and, in a show of appreciation for such a favor, I allowed him to appear in 113 career MLB games. I'm not.
However, what I am doing is pointing out my unquestionable investment in putting a winning product on the field at Kauffman Stadium (even though the stadium itself does nothing but steal homers and walks from the very players who call it home). You'll notice in 2012, I spent nearly $61 million on payroll. Only the Astros, Athletics and Padres spent less. But in 2013, I sold a few summer homes, turned in the keys to several cars I was leasing and did some things I'm not proud of to allow myself to up my team's payroll to nearly $81.5 million. I didn't attend no fancy Ivy League school but that's nearly a 34 percent increase in team salary. That placed the Royals 19th in payroll in all of baseball and less than $2 million away from Milwaukee at No. 18.
Did any of that sink in? KANSAS FREAKING CITY was almost in the top half of baseball in spending last year! And how did you "loyal" fans repay me? By having the fifth worst attendance in the game. Barely over 20,000 a game. Pitiful. Minnesota averaged just under 10,000 more fans and the Twins were the third worst team in the league. The White Sox were even worse and averaged more fans per game. The Angels and Phillies were dumpster fires last season and both had more than 15,000 more fans per game. Please, tell me again about how looooooooooooooyal you Royals fans are.
I spent more than FOUR owners who saw their teams reach the playoffs last season: Pittsburgh, Cleveland, Oakland and Tampa Bay. Meanwhile the Houston Astros paid their players in Texas-themed belt buckles and became the most profitable MLB team in history. As much as you seem to think it would benefit me to spend and spend on this team, it doesn't. I'd make far more money by cutting payroll 34 percent.
And I put all that money into the team despite ranking 29th on Forbes' list of most valuable MLB franchises last year. (Gee, I bet the team would be worth more if a prospective buyer knew they were buying a team that could record sell-outs on days besides Opening Day and when the Yankees, Red Sox and Cardinals are in town.)
I can't say for sure where our payroll will stack up this season, but with the signings of Jason Vargas and Omar Infante and trades for Norichika Aoki and Danny Valencia, it should go without saying I'm not backing off my commitment to this franchise and our quest to reach the playoffs for the first time since 1985.
I get it. The Royals have been the butt of countless jokes and you've remained loyal and blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. Know what other franchise hasn't won in forever? The Chicago Cubs. Not only are they known as the "lovable losers" but now they have a mascot more lovable than ours! If anything, we should try to see just how long our playoff futility can last and knock those highfalutin Cubs off their pedestal!!!
Face it. You live in Kansas City. What else are you gonna do? Go to the Zoo every weekend? Become regulars out at The Legends? Be a good husband and finally take your wife to the New Theater Restaurant? The Royals are the only show in town in the summer, bud, and the only one who can tell me how much to spend on them is, well, me.
Truth is, I think we can win as currently constructed. I think we will win as currently constructed. But Ervin Santana isn't going to turn us into World Series contenders. So why spend the money?
As for Masahiro Tanaka? Are you serious? Sure, I could afford the $20 million posting fee but the Yankees and Dodgers and maybe the Angels, Cubs or Rangers are all fully capable of offering more than $100 million for him on top of that. One report said his price tag could near $150 million. And even if I could scrape together that much dough, I'd still have to convince him to want to play in Kansas City. Do you realize Tanaka would have to have an insatiable desire — no, fetish — for BBQ to place Kansas City atop his list of teams to pitch for?
As for extending Shields, the timing isn't right. If this team blows up in my face, afterall, I'll probably be instructing my GM to trade Shields in July, don't ya think? If anything, I might be able to splurge for Santana on a one-year deal, but don't expect much more before Opening Day.
The way I see it, we have MVP-caliber players at catcher and first base. We have a competent, full-time second baseman for the first time since 2009. (Thanks for finally noticing Dayton!) Our third baseman has a capable backup and if he doesn't get his ass in gear he'll soon find himself serving as the backup. Our shortstop won't be able to hit himself out of a wet pair of edible underwear but he's going to field more smoothly than a silk brassiere. Our left fielder is one of the most complete left fielders in the game. Center field is a bit of a weakness, but it shouldn't be a hindrance if we can avoid major injuries. And...let me check...yes, our right fielder is no longer Jeff Francoeur so we're set there, too. And our bullpen will be one of the best and deepest in baseball again.
As for the rotation, we have a proven frontline starter in James Shields. Our 2-4 leave a lot to be desired and our fifth starter has no business being a starter — nor does his top competitor for that spot (hint: he was a No. 1 pick that I regret even more than the Myers trade and, yes, Dayton Moore was responsible for that draft pick). But in reality, those guys are just placeholders for when Yordano Ventura and Kyle Zimmer are ready to join the big league club. Why spend millions of dollars to fill holes we can fill internally?
Given our incremental improvements and the Detroit Tigers' incremental setbacks, the Royals can compete in the American League Central in 2014. Even if we don't win the division, the Cleveland Indians made the playoffs last year with a rotation of Justin Masterson, Ubaldo Jimenez, Scott Kazmir, Corey Kluber and Zach McAllister. I already think the 2014 Royals are a more complete team than the 2013 Indians and they've done little to improve this offseason.
In reality, the Red Sox and Rays are going to take two playoff spots. The Athletics or Rangers will win the AL West. So that means we either have to beat the Tigers outright and take the division or feast on an easier division and finish with a better record than the No. 2 team out of the West. Simple as that.
If a bold move is needed in July, I'll open the checkbook again. But that's contingent on the team Dayton Moore has constructed competing the first three months of the season.
If you don't like that, maybe you should have expressed more outrage over me hiring and sticking with a GM who's now in YEAR EIGHT without a playoff appearance. If you don't like that, maybe you should have protested a little louder when I allowed our GM to ship off our best hitting prospect at a position of immediate need for a two-year rental pitcher when there were numerous free agents I would have gladly paid for instead. If you don't like that, maybe the twitter account Fire Dayton Moore should have more than 90 fucking followers! If you don't like that, maybe more than 44 people should have signed their fucking petition to have Dayton Moore fired!
If there are soooooooooooooooooooooooo many passionate Royals fans out there, as you claim there are, then the man most responsible for where the Royals have been the last eight seasons should be held responsible — if not by me, then by you. I've put up the money. I'll continue to put up the money until I either die or sell the team.
But the Pirates, Indians, Athletics and Rays proved last season it's not all about the money. It's about putting the right pieces in place. I'm not qualified to put those pieces in place. So don't blame me for that. If you want to blame me for choosing the wrong man to assemble those pieces and if you want to blame me for keeping this man under my employ for too long, then you have a point. Until then, keep your open letters to yourself.
(not) David Glass
P.S. If you want to blame me for hiring a man who supposedly appeared in a film called "Mayor Cupcake," that might trump my entire catalogue of missteps.
-Fire Dayton Moore