Glass says franchise at strong point of his tenure
Club president sits down with MLB.com to address the state of the team
Dan Glass is entering his 15th season as president of the Kansas City Royals. He began in 1993 as a baseball operations assistant and eventually worked in scouting and player development, taking special interest in the Latin American program. Glass discussed his outlook for the Royals, his relationship with general manager Dayton Moore and other issues with MLB.com's Dick Kaegel.
MLB.com: How optimistic are you about the Royals' postseason chances in 2014?
Glass: I am very optimistic, and, in fact, there's a lot of high expectation with the club this year based on the way we played in the second half and the additions that Dayton and his staff have made through the winter. It appeared to me that somewhere along the second half of last season that the team really clicked. Maybe it's a maturity or a belief that we can win every day but something happened with these guys. My hope is the second half will carry on into this year.
MLB.com: How do you feel about the team's offseason moves, notably Norichika Aoki, Omar Infante, Jason Vargas and Bruce Chen?
Glass: I think those are all good additions that really shored up the needs that we had, particularly from the offensive side. Setting up the order now where you have guys at the top that are table-setters, the guys at the bottom are table-setters, and hopefully, those kids in the middle can be run-producers. And also the defense is improved. Arguably one of the best defensive teams in the American League, or in baseball, got better with the addition of Infante and Aoki.
MLB.com: The current payroll is pegged at about $90 million, a franchise record and your GM, Dayton Moore, was quoted as saying that's beyond the break-even point. Have you reached a spending limit for this year?
Glass: We're pushing it a little bit, yes we are pushing it. I think most clubs try to live within their means, and the way it's always been is you try to break even with the club and any additional revenue that you get, you put into the club -- you invest in the team usually. A lot of it is an indication of teams' local revenue, especially teams that have big broadcasting deals that are kicking in or whatever. But it's a testament really to central baseball and the job the Commissioner's Office has done in growing the revenues -- Tim Brosnan and Bob Bowman and Tony Petitti on the business side of things have done an outstanding job of growing the revenues and getting more revenue to the teams.
MLB.com: Your family has been deeply involved with the Royals since Mr. Kauffman's passing in 1993, and you acquired ownership in 2000. Are you satisfied with the ways things have progressed overall?
Glass: Yes, as of now I am. No doubt that since Dayton came on board, maybe it took longer than what we all anticipated, and Dayton may tell you that as well. But the main goal when he came in was to invest in the farm system, scouting and player development. We had to have the best player development people and develop our own talent. That's the way that teams in our situation, revenue-wise, have to do it. And so in our current team, many of the core players are the ones that our scouts drafted and developed, and they're really the heart and soul of the club. Then, if you look at our pipeline again, it's almost as if he turned it over twice -- the run where we were the top-ranked organization by Baseball America and now where we're like No. 5 or 6 again. There's a new wave that's going to come behind this. So he and his staff have really done it twice.
MLB.com: David Glass is the team's chairman and your father; is there a strict division of duties among you two, or do you collaborate on most team issues?
Glass: We collaborate on everything. He calls up on a daily basis, he calls up all of us for that matter -- either myself or Dayton or Kevin [Uhlich] on the business side if he has any questions at all. But he's in direct contact with what we're doing on an everyday basis, and we'll lean on him when we need him. He's really involved with the bigger-picture issues with the industry and Major League Baseball. He really enjoys that side of it, and I think they enjoy having him in that role. He has a lot of passion for it.
MLB.com: Dayton Moore has been your GM since 2006, and his contract has been extended through 2016. What are the attributes that you admire most in him?
Glass: He's probably the most hard-working, honest individual I've ever worked with. He's a family man -- they're just genuine people, he's a genuine guy. He has a work ethic, though, that he's not going to quit until he gets this right. And that's what you want in people you hire. In my role, you want to hire people that are better than I am at things. And he has that same attribute -- he hires people underneath him that are good at what they do in certain areas, and he listens to them and ultimately makes the right decision based on the information that he has. Just a man of outstanding character, I can't say enough about him. The more I work around him, the more I respect him and the more he just kind of feels like family when I'm around him. We think alike.
MLB.com: You, personally, always have been very forceful in the development of Latin American players, notably through the Dominican Academy. How important is the international aspect of player development to the Royals?
Glass: It's very important. In fact, that is one area where seemingly we're all on an equal playing field, competing for talent among the teams. But it's just a love that they [Latino players] share for the game that I share. I have the same love for the game they have. You go down into these countries and they play the game the way I played it when I was a kid. You had a lot of passion for it, you played it every day, you played it until you were tired -- but you just couldn't get enough of it. And the Latin kids today are no different than they were back when I was heavily involved with the Dominican program. With Rene Francisco and others, we have a very talented staff of evaluators that are able to identify good kids that share those same attributes.
MLB.com: Do you feel the Royals and other middle and small-market clubs can ever achieve parity with the big-market clubs like the Yankees or Dodgers?
Glass: Well, I used to think so. I think it's a lot harder now with the broadcasting deals and the broadcasting revenues locally becoming what they are. But it still doesn't mean that we can't do it. It all gets back to the scouts and the player development people -- they're sort of the unsung heroes in all this because they're the ones that identify the talent, they're the ones that develop the talent. So, much like Tampa Bay and Oakland and others have done, it can be done. Just because you have the most money to spend, it doesn't mean that you're always going to win. We just have to be more careful in our selections, I guess.
MLB.com: Is the Royals franchise now as strong as it's ever been during your tenure?
Glass: I think so. Financially, it's on solid footing -- baseball side, business side, with quality people on both sides. Yes, I'd say so.
MLB.com: Do you feel that the Kansas City fans are connecting with this team you have now?
Glass: That's the sense I got at FanFest. It's just a great group of guys. I think it goes back to Dayton and his staff. They like guys with good character, and the thing they did on stage in front of the audience was really fun. The one with James Shields as the emcee -- you don't get better than that when a player can bring out the personality in guys. During the season, we talk about it every night at games. You look out into the stands, you might see every player represented on a kid's T-shirt or an adult's T-shirt. Fans really relate to this team. It's a fun team to watch.
MLB.com: How important was holding the 2012 All-Star Game for the Kansas City franchise?
Glass: It was big. It had a major impact locally, obviously, with the economic impact that it brings. But nationally was where it really shined. Still today, I get letters from fans that came to the game and enjoyed themselves and actually have come back when their team has been in town because they enjoyed coming to the ballpark and the setting, but also the city. It made a big difference in showing the world basically what Kansas City has here.
MLB.com: You and your father have great respect for Commissioner Selig, don't you?
Glass: We do. I think everybody does. It's a tough job that he has, and it would be hard for some people to maneuver the different egos within ownership and the other issues he's had to deal with during his time. But he's been able to do it in a very graceful way. When he leaves, he will have left the game in a much better place than when he took over. He will be hard to replace.
MLB.com: By taking over the Royals, your family probably saved the franchise for Kansas City yet over the years you -- and primarily David Glass as the CEO -- have come under harsh criticism from fans. Isn't that difficult to understand at times?
Glass: Not really. I think a lot of it is just reaction to losing. But I hope they understand that we feel as bad about it as they do. Somebody's got to take the blame, and it all starts at the top. Hopefully we can turn all that around, and our winning ways will continue.
MLB.com: Do you see your ownership going far into the future?
Glass: Quite possibly, quite possibly. I think if for some reason there was a better ownership group that we felt like would be better for Kansas City than us and would agree to contractually keep the team here in Kansas City for a long time, then we'd have to consider that I think. But right now, I would say yes.
Dick Kaegel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.