KANSAS CITY, MO (KCTV/AP) – Just four years after bringing a World Series title to Kansas City, the Royals may be on the auction block.
Multiple reports are indicating that Kansas City Royals owner David Glass is looking to sell the club, which he has owned since 2000.
According to Ken Rosenthal and Jayson Stark of The Athletic, the potential buyer for the club could be a group led by Kansas City native John Sherman.
Sherman, an entrepreneur in areas of technology & energy, became a minority investor in the Cleveland Indians club in 2016.
The Royals' value has skyrocketed in the 19 years Glass has owned the team. The former Walmart CEO took over operation of the club in 1993 before buying the organization from the Kauffman estate for $96 million just over six years later.
As of April of this year, Forbes valued the Royals at $1.025 billion. Jeff Passan with ESPN has reported that the proposed deal for the club would be over a billion dollars and would see Sherman divest himself in his stake in the Indians.
Shortly after 6 p.m. Tuesday, the club released the following statement about the speculation on the sale.
"The Kansas City Royals are not in a position to make any comments on the published speculation regarding any potential sale of the ball club. The Royals will make no further statements at this time."
The 84-year-old Glass, whose son Dan is the team's president, has been a private but polarizing owner in Kansas City. He is credited with keeping the club in one of the smallest markets in baseball, but was scorned by many fans for years because of its frugal spending and losing ways.
That changed when Glass hired Dayton Moore as the general manager. The Royals began a long, slow build toward respectability, then poured heavily into payroll when a core group of players led by Eric Hosmer and Mike Moustakas reached the majors and Kansas City began to contend in the AL Central.
The breakthrough came in 2014, when the Royals reached the World Series for the first time since winning their first championship in 1985. They took the San Francisco Giants to Game 7, and they had the tying run on third base in the ninth inning, when they finally succumbed at Kauffman Stadium.
Driven by the disappointment of such a close call, the Royals returned largely intact the next year — and added crucial players such as Ben Zobrist and Johnny Cueto ahead of the trade deadline — and made another World Series run. This time, the club broke through against the New York Mets, rolling in just five games to its second World Series championship.
The timing of any potential sale makes sense. The Royals' local television contract expires after this season, and it is likely any new deal would include a substantial increase in rights fees.
The club is also in the midst of another massive rebuild. They are barreling toward another 100-loss season, but they have a bevy of young prospects rising through the minor leagues, and the front office is hopeful the Royals will be contending again within the next two years.
On Wednesday evening, Jon Heyman with the MLB Network posted a tweet saying in part, “Barring something unforeseen John Sherman’s purchase of the Royals from David Glass will happen.”
Barring something unforeseen John Sherman’s purchase of the Royals from David Glass will happen. Sherman, well-respected KC businessman who’d been buying up points in the Indians, seen as a sure thing for MLB approval, too.— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) August 29, 2019