KANSAS CITY — New Royals owner John Sherman was introduced to the Kansas City media on Tuesday, replacing David Glass, who had owned the team since 2000.
Sherman, who made his fortune in the energy business in Kansas City, will be the majority owner among a large group of investors that includes Paul Edgerley, part-owner of the Celtics, and Kansas City native and actor Eric Stonestreet.
Sherman, who has been a minority owner in the Indians, confirmed that the reported selling price of nearly $1 billion was mostly accurate.
“These are private transactions,” Sherman said, “but it’s amazing how when stuff leaks out — wherever it leaks from — how close numbers tend to be.”
Here are 10 things to know about the new Royals owner:
1. On reports that general manager Dayton Moore already has been given, or will be given, an extension:
“I don’t know where that came from,” Sherman said. “There’s been no change to the contract that he has. He has a good contract. I look forward to working with him. I like how he’s [doing] things, but we haven’t extended anybody other than [manager] Mike Matheny. That’s not a lack of confidence in anybody, I think that’s just we’re coming into the business, and we’ve got to see what we have and press forward.”
2. On if the Royals will hire a new team president to replace the vacated position of Dan Glass, son of previous owner David Glass:
“I think, initially, I need to hang around for a while and decide,” Sherman said. “I think that’s what’s going to give you the best feel for the organization: spend time with the leadership group, try to understand how they do things, what the culture is like. I’ve certainly developed an initial feeling about that, but really kind of hanging around is what I’d say.”
3. On his percentage of the ownership group:
“I would just say I’m the largest shareholder by far, and certainly exceed the ownership policy in the league,” Sherman said. “I’m not going to say [it’s more than 50 percent], but it’s the biggest by far, and I’m the control person for the Royals. There are guidelines. You have to have a certain percentage, and you have to be the biggest shareholder to be the control person. I’m substantially at risk here. I’ve got plenty on the table if that’s the question.”
4. On his philosophy toward payroll:
“I think in this business, if you’re in a small market, you have to be willing to lose money at certain times to be competitive,” Sherman said. “The experience in Cleveland has been very beneficial. Of course, I’ve seen the numbers here. You know, but you have to have a nucleus. It doesn’t make sense to go out and get one big free agent if you don’t have the talent around them. I think about in Cleveland, we started in 2016, and our payroll was $82 million. We had a good team. We were competitive. We added Andrew Miller at the [Trade] Deadline, and we got to the World Series. We didn’t win it. The next year, we signed [Edwin] Encarnación to a three-year deal. I think that was the largest free-agent deal in Indians history then. A couple years later, we traded him away and got Carlos Santana back, a switch-hitter and a good player. Those are all moves that were intended to keep us competitive.
“I can’t forecast the future here, but I’ll be spending a lot of time with Dayton and Mike and figuring out how we build that.”
5. On whether he plans to make any free-agent splashes this offseason during a rebuild:
“[I don’t know] if one player is going to move the needle on this team right now,” Sherman said. “We’ve got to build some other things up. Although I’m optimistic about pitching talent that’s coming up, we’ll see what happens. Another thing I learned in Cleveland, is when you have a whole bunch of good pitching, get some more. That’s both in the rotation and in the bullpen.”
6. On how the Royals nearing a new local TV deal — which, according to MLB.com, could bring an additional $25 million or so to revenue — will affect spending:
“It will give us more flexibility than we have today, definitely,” Sherman said. “I like the business. There has been a little erosion if you look at national numbers and in-park attendance. But the media rights are still going up in value — the national media rights in particular are going up in value. I think the Commissioner’s Office, I’m really impressed by how they’re thinking about the game, growing the game. We just came from a meeting where we talked about some really exciting things — that I can’t talk about — but I’ve got a lot of confidence in the Commissioner.”
7. On what his philosophy will be, knowing that original team owner Ewing Kauffman didn’t like to lose money, and David Glass was cautious of that as well, but knew to overspend when the Royals got close to a title:
“As far as values go, it’s interesting,” Sherman said. “I came from a business where you didn’t lose money. I came from a business that was based on generating positive cash flow. Another thing I learned in Cleveland: you make money when you’re losing, and you lose money when you’re winning. That’s not linear, and you can’t take it to the bank. But [it’s] because you’re ramping up payroll to try to compete. Now, if you get in the postseason and go deep, you get some revenue. That’s kind of the bet [for small-market teams].”
8. On how long he has known Moore:
“It’s been eight or 10 years ago,” Sherman said, “and we hosted a charity event at our house. Dayton was there. It was something he was very involved in. I’m talking to Dayton in kind of our entryway and [my wife] Marny asks him, ‘What do you do for the Royals?’ I said, ‘He’s the general manager.’ She thought he was in marketing or something. She came up to him today and said, ‘I know who you are now.’”
9. On whether he got any advice from Glass on how to run a small-market team:
“I don’t know that he has given me a lot of advice,” Sherman said. “He said I could call him. He said there are different ways to do this. There only have been two owners before [today]. I know Ewing was innovative. He wasn’t a baseball man, but we went to the playoffs for seven years. Pretty impressive. I think David, when he took it over from the community foundation, it took him a little while until he found Dayton [in 2006] and rebuilt the farm system, international scouting, and it culminated in the World Series in 2014-15. How would I approach it? I think we have some pretty interesting models. I learned a lot in four seasons in Cleveland. We had seven straight winning seasons, and I think we won an average of 94 games the four seasons I was there. But I think as a small-market team, you have to be smarter. You have to evaluate and draft well. We wrapped up some people pre-arbitration, and certainly this team has done some of that. And then, when you have the opportunity, you have to trade away some assets to be able to compete. I think I learned that in Cleveland. I think these guys are pretty optimistic. I think I heard [Matheny] say, ‘It’s not a rebuild. It’s a transformation.’”
10. On the famous story that he left Paris in 2014 to come back and watch the Royals in the World Series:
“Marny and I planned a long trip in 2014, and we were in Europe,” Sherman said. “I didn’t think [the Royals] would be in the World Series. Marny found me watching one of the games of the World Series on my phone and she just said, ‘Why don’t you go back?’ I said, ‘Are you serious?’ I looked her in the eye, and she said, ‘Yes, I’m serious.’ So, I did come back. But I came back and met up with my family again in Europe.”