Tuesday, May 16, 2006

The End of the Allard Era: Organizational Changes

The Royals lack of progress over the past 10 years is largely due to the team's poor management from top to bottom. The first place the Royals must make changes is at the top of the organization, starting with the team's ownership.

The Glass Family:

The Glass family must realize that they ultimately determine the team's fate. And for the best interest of the team, both for baseball and financial success, it is best that they sit back and watch it. I appreciate the Glass family buying the team when it seemed that no one wanted it and keeping the Royals in Kansas City. However, the team has pretty much been non-existant for the past 5 years. The Royals are going to spend $50 million each season and the general manager is going to make several move throughout the season to improve the baseball team. Any interference from the ownership is completely unnecessary, especially considering that the team could not have been more poorly run over the past 5 seasons.

To improve the state of the franchise, the Glass family needs to make some important concessions. In the end, they will benefit from them financially and from being able to watch a competitive baseball team. The Royals need a stronger financial commitment from the Glass family. The Royals received $55 million in revenue sharing last year and those numbers should continue to increase. The value of the team has roughly doubled since Mr. Glass bought the time, in spite of its horrible performance. The Royals can be competitive on a payroll of $50-60 million as long as there is more funding for the amateur draft, scouting operations, and the farm system.

The Glass family must also step back from managing baseball operations. It's pretty well-known that Allard has been restricted in some of the moves he's made. The Glass family demanded that he get major-league talent for Jermaine Dye. There are also rumors that they have also prevented several other trades (Beltran for Wright, Sweeney for some of the Angels' top prospects), but those can't be confirmed. Nonetheless, it certainly appears that the Glass family have micromanaged the baseball operations to an extent that it makes the job very difficult. If they micromanage the ballclub this much with a GM they trust, I'd hate to see what happens with the new general manager. The Royals will be limited in their choice of general manager if they don't give the new general manager the final authority in baseball decisions.

New Baseball Operations Staff

The new general manager will inherit a decent core of young talent he/she can build the team around. The most important criteria for hiring the new GM is a strong track record of building farm systems and developing young players. The Royals' inability to do to develop their own talent has been the main reason for the past 5 years of futility. This problem must be addressed especially for the young pitching. The Royals simply cannot develop their own pitching. The talent has been there, but the proper instruction and conditioning hasn't. Getting an executive who has had tremendous success with developing pitching and can put together a player development scheme that will develop pitching must be a top priority. So, in other words, anyone associated with player development, it's time to clean out your office and pick up an application at Walmart.

The Royals' recent drafts have been fairly successful, so retaining Deric Ladnier or Allard Baird in the scouting department wouldn't bother me. Both seem to be a pretty good judge of young talent, especially for position players. As long as the Royals address the pitching side of the equation, Ladnier and Baird are welcome to stay.

The direction of the franchise ultimately depends on the changes that the ownership makes to the baseball operations staff and the Glass family's willingness to relinquish control of baseball operations. If these changes don't occur, it's going to be another frustrating 5 years for Royals' fans. The decisions the Glass family make in the next few months are going to tell us exactly where this franchise is going.


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