Even with their rotten local TV deal — the Royals expect their annual take to more than double when the current deal expires in 2019 — their ticket revenue has nearly quadrupled in the last 10 years to around $80 million per year.
Along with that, the league’s revenue sharing has continued to increase. Some of that is with Major League Baseball’s forward-thinking decision to split all online revenue equally. MLB’s Advanced Media is widely considered the best of its peer group, and continues to expand with partnerships with other businesses and leagues, including the NHL.
In the last three rounds of collective-bargaining negotiations, players and owners spent more time on revenue sharing than anything else. The result has been, generally speaking, more help for the clubs with the smallest revenues.
Baseball’s annual revenue has grown from $1.4 billion in 1995 to $9.5 billion in 2015. A disproportionate amount of the growth has come from big-market clubs, but revenue sharing has allowed small-market teams to keep pace.
The 10 clubs in baseball’s biggest markets who are disqualified from receiving revenue sharing have gone from an average of about $37 million payroll in 1995 to more than $160 million in 2015. That increase is roughly the same as the 10 clubs in baseball’s smallest markets — $26 million in 1995 and nearly $100 million in 2015. Last year, the difference between the two groups was about 40 percent, a number that has remained steady since the late 1990s.
6. 2013-2015 Kansas City Royals. Their +93 Defensive Runs Saved figure in 2013 is the second-highest of DRS era (behind only the +95 of the 2005 Phillies) and defense was obviously vital to their playoff runs in 2014 and 2015. Maybe they lack that one signature, historic defender, but they’ve solid across the board….
4. 2002 Anaheim Angels. They had a lot of excellent defensive ratings in this era with the 2002 World Series champs topping them off at plus-98 runs.Darin Erstad won a Gold Glove with an amazing year at plus-39 runs: He made 3.39 plays per game compared to the league average of 2.77. The rest of the team was above average across the board with no weak spots: Troy Glaus, David Eckstein, Garret Anderson, Adam Kennedy, Bengie Molina, Tim Salmon andScott Spiezio.
How can teams compete with big money clubs like the Royals?
The Royals have signed right-handed starting pitcher Ian Kennedy to a five-year contract worth $70 million, according to Jon Heyman. Ken Rosenthal reports Kennedy can opt out of the contract after two years.
Kennedy is a 31-year old right-handed pitcher who has won 75 games in parts of nine Major Leagues seasons with the Yankees, Diamondbacks, and Padres. He was 9-15 with a 4.28 ERA and 4.51 FIP with 0.8 fWAR last season, but was a 3.5 fWAR pitcher the season before that. His best season came in 2011 when he won 21 games and was a 4.8 fWAR pitcher with a 2.88 ERA and 3.22 FIP.
Alex Gordon has re-signed with the Royals according to Jeffrey Flanagan. Buster Olney reports the deal is a four year, $72 million contract.
At the outset of free agency, it was thought Gordon could command a deal as large as $100 million. The Royals had been said to “lowballing” Gordon with a four-year offer worth $12-13 million per year. Reports surfaced that the Royals had “no chance” to re-sign Gordon with what they were offering. Gordon refuted that report, saying he was still open to returning to Kansas City.
Alex Gordon will turn 32 by Opening Day and is coming off a season in which he missed two months with a groin injury. He hit .271/.377/.432 for the season with 13 HR 48 RBI in 104 games.
Of course, since it’s an ESPN award, does it really matter? For that matter does ESPN really matter anymore?
Bryce Harper, Joe Maddon and Jake Arrieta were all worthy candidates for ESPN.com’s MLB “Person of the Year” for 2015, but no one better embodied the spirit of winning than Moore, the architect of Kansas City’s championship club and a man who stayed true to his vision while the Royals were averaging 93 losses a year from 2009 to 2012.
It doesn’t appear Alex Gordon will be walking through that door, Royals fans.
The Royals have been told by Alex Gordon’s camp that, as things currently stand, they have “no chance” to retain star left fielder Alex Gordon, sources said. Things obviously can change in free agency, but it’s clear at this point that there’s at least a wide gap in talks regarding the longtime Royals outfielder.
Sunday Night Baseball to document Boston Red Sox icon David Ortiz’s final season across four early appearances;
The New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox renew their rivalry three times, including back-to-back weeks (May 1, May 8, July 17);
NL West rivals: Los Angeles Dodgers and San Francisco Giants will square off twice (April 17, June 12);
The Pittsburgh Pirates and Andrew McCutchen to appear on Sunday Night Baseball for third consecutive season (June 12), 8th appearance since 2014;
Special Sunday Night Baseball doubleheader on June 12: St Louis Cardinals at Pittsburgh Pirates (5 p.m.); Los Angeles Dodgers at San Francisco Giants (8:30 p.m.);
The Arizona Diamondbacks, led by new ace Zack Greinke, to make first appearance since 2008 (July 10);
The Houston Astros, led by Carlos Correa, to make first appearance since 2013 (April 24)
The popular series ‘MLB Network Presents’ is slated to return on Dec, 10 at 8 p.m. ET, right at the conclusion of the winter meetings coverage, and it starts with a look at the Kansas City Royals 30-year journey to their second World Series championship.
“Royal in Kansas City, 30 Years Later” is the title of the program and it will feature interviews with Royals past, including Hall of Famer George Brett and teammates Danny Jackson, Darryl Motley, Bret Saberhagen, Frank White and Willie Wilson as they reminisce about bringing Kansas City’s first World Series title home in 1985. The group will also discuss watching the 2015 team repeating their success and the joy they experienced watching another Royal celebration….
MLB Network is also advertising Lenny Randle, “The Most Interesting Man in Baseball,” which will air Friday, Dec. 11 at 9:00 p.m. ET. The one-hour documentary will look at the life and 12-year playing career of Lenny Randle, and will be narrated by comedian and Mets fan Jim Breuer.
On Tuesday, Dec. 15, a special on the Houston AstroDome will air at 9:00 p.m. ET.
Not bad for a guy that was out of baseball for THREE YEARS.
There may be no better example of the paying power of MLB than Ryan Madson, who on Sunday reportedly agreed to join the Oakland Athletics on a three-year, $22 million contract. ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick reported the two sides had a deal, after Madson’s market was said to have been narrowed down to the A’s and Los Angeles Dodgers….
Madson, 35, missed all of the 2012, 2013 and 2014 seasons after Tommy John surgery and a horrific recovery. He hurt his elbow while with the Cincinnati Reds in 2012, then signed with the Los Angeles Angels the next season, but could never come back. In 2014, no one was even interested in signing him. Madson had pretty much given up on baseball after that, retiring and spending time with his family.
But after missing another year, the urge to pitch returned and Madson landed with the Kansas City Royals on a minor-league deal. Not only did Madson prove he could pitch again — his fastball was popping at 96 mph late in the season — he was a solid contributor to Kansas City’s heralded bullpen. In 68 games, he had a 2.13 ERA and 58 strikeouts.
The bottom line: Despite all the talk about the Royals’ old-school, go-for-broke offense, Kansas City scored 724 runs this year, just 14 more than the AL average. And it’s scoring—not contact or aggressiveness or intangibles—that wins games. Even if we credit the Royals for smart or timely hitting (and we should—they scored 32 percent of their runners who reached base, the fourth-highest rate in MLB), their offense simply wasn’t championship level. Their pitching wasn’t so hot either. KC starters ranked 12th in the AL with a 4.32 FIP, a measure designed to separate pitching performance from defense and scaled to resemble ERA. As a staff, the Royals ranked sixth in the AL with a 4.04 FIP, behind teams such as the Indians, White Sox and Rays—none of whom won more than 81 games.
SO WITH ALL those decidedly average stats, exactly how did Kansas City win the World Series? By assembling undervalued players to form a devastating weapon: defense.
Makes it harder to COUNT DA RINGZ if everyone gets one.
Glass wanted to spare no expense. But Uhlich and Moore persuaded him to tone down the ring and keep it to a reasonable size, something fitting of a pennant, not a World Series. They had both companies make sample rings, and they chose Jostens’s design, made of 10-karat white gold, with the “KC” logo. The total carat weight is 1.9 carats.
“We think it’s a beautiful ring,” Uhlich said. “But we did consciously make sure that we left a little distance, in the event we were lucky enough to win a World Series. How would we take it to another level?”
This is not a common problem across professional sports. N.H.L. teams that lose out on hoisting the Stanley Cup do not typically hand out rings. In the N.B.A., where some fans believe that rings define a player’s legacy, teams do not give out rings when they lose in the finals.
The N.F.L. pays for 150 rings for the Super Bowl runner-up, but, by rule, the cost can at most be half of what the league pays for the winner’s rings. By definition, then, the N.F.L.’s conference championship rings are more modest by comparison. The Buffalo Bills have four such A.F.C. championship rings from the 1990s.
Baseball remains a sport in which the team that loses the championship often gives itself rings. Major League Baseball covers up to $1,500 of the cost of each ring for members of the World Series-winning team — for the players, coaches, manager and general manager. The team must cover any costs above that, and the price is routinely significantly higher.
But the team that loses the Series must buy all of its own league championship rings.
The genius of the contact-based approach is that, if a pitcher is reliant on making hitters miss as part of his game plan, a contact-based team will have an antidote to his poison. Now it’s a negotiation between the pitcher and batter in terms of how good the pitcher is at inducing weak contact and how skilled the batter is at making good contact. If teams are selecting for swing-and-miss stuff and ignoring whether the pitcher is also skilled at inducing weak contact, then teams that emphasize a swing-and-hit approach and can find players who make decent contact will have plenty of guys to pick apart.
If fighting a battle under one set of rules isn’t working, change the rules. These effects aren’t the only reason that Royals fans can wear “Defending World Champions” shirts next year. I’m told by well-placed sources that they had a decent bullpen. It’s also not the case that the contact approach is the only way to win baseball games. But smart fans would do well to pay attention to the natural evolution of the game. For a few years, we have worried about the strikeout scourge and the drop in offense. Perhaps this is just the counter-move, and it was thrown into the limelight ... or perhaps the royal blue light by some gentlemen from Kansas City who are now holding a trophy.
Gordon isn’t getting seven years. Five years at $90 million is a real possibility.
A seven-year contract for Gordon does not make a lot of sense, but if the FanGraphs crowd is correct and Gordon receives a five-year contract for $90 million or even Dave Cameron’s four year, $92 million prediction, that represent be a decent value. The Royals were in the middle-tier when it came to payroll last season and given attendance and another World Series run, Gordon might fit the team very well moving forward. There is risk in signing any player in his 30s to a long-term contract, and Gordon is no different. However, it is possible that either Gordon’s age or his injury this past season is keeping his price down. In free agency, Gordon looks to be a decent bet to fulfill the obligations of his contract in a manner with which his team will be quite pleased.
One area I have not seen quantified is the effect a good defense (such as that possessed by the Royals) might have when combined with a low-strikeout pitching staff. Would a good defensive team’s pitchers and defense record more outs and post lower ERAs than FIPs? Probably some, but also how much of difference would it actually make? I decided to perform a quick study to see if there was anything to my little theory.
Royals fans can wash down their hot dogs with the tears of Mets players.
Major League Baseball and ESPN just did something kinda cool. Rather than give us the one “Opening Day” game on Sunday night followed by a bunch of day games the next day, this year we’re going to get three games on the Sunday which opens the season and it’s going to get going at 1PM Eastern.
Here’s the schedule — for ESPN anyway — for Sunday April 3 and Monday April 4, just released:
How can a person who makes his living with the written word have such poor reading comprehension? Tip: Moneyball isn’t about OBP being the Holy Grail; it’s about finding undervalued assets.
Dayton Moore and the Royals organization took a beating from some critics for not emulating the Moneyball formula for success. But Dayton Moore and the Royals had a formula of their own; one that has proven to be more successful than the Moneyball approach.
Here’s one more quote from Moneyball:
“There was a truly astonishing discrepancy between Billy Beane and every other general manager in the business. There was no question that Billy was the best in the game.”
GM Dayton Moore has been criticized and GM Billy Beane has been lionized, but only one of them has led his team to two American League titles and a World Series championship.
Moore embraced the same approach that allowed the Royals to advance to the postseason seven times during the 10-year stretch from 1976-85, capped off by their first World Series championship in franchise history. He supplemented home-grown players with proven veterans—an opportunity he was given because Glass gave his GM the time to build a foundation instead of looking for a quick-fix to the long-term struggles of the franchise. Glass avoided the temptation of trying to appease fans by firing and hiring for the sake of firing and hiring.
To copy the Royals, the Dodgers and the Yankees would have to strip their payrolls and start over. The Yankees would also have to jettison their vastly overrated general manager, Brian Cashman, and find a general manager more adept at putting a roster together and not do it by throwing the Yankees’ millions at free agents.
The higher the strikeout rate goes, the more the pendulum of value swings away from the quality of contact, and towards just making contact.
This is what the Royals are capitalizing on. What makes the pitchers on a team like the Mets so good is that they can count on getting a lot of strikeouts. The Royals took that away from the Mets: they didn’t give the Mets pitchers easy punch-outs. They said: “If you want to get out of this jam, you better make plays.” The Mets didn’t, and they lost the series.
The Royals are winning because they’ve hoarded players with a skillset that isn’t historically valuable, but it is valuable in the current contexts of how baseball is played today. The value of contact correlates directly with the strikeout rate: the Royals have found themselves with the most contact-prone team in baseball, at a moment when it actually matters.
That’s one trend that the Royals are vanguard on. The other is their bullpen.
People must have tuned in to see Joe Buck’s beard!
The final scores are in, at least for one of the big games last night, and you have to call it a home run for Fox. With an audience of 17.2 million watching the Kansas City Royals beat the New York Mets 7-2 in Game 5 of the 2015 World Series, the net saw the highest Game 5 viewership since 2003. That Game 5 between the New York Yankees and the Florida Marlins snagged a crowd of 19.9 million. Let’s add some more history to that and note that the victory brought the Royals their first World Series since 1985.
Compared to last year’s World Series Game 5 between the Royals and the San Francisco Giants (a series the Bay Area team won), last night’s game was up 37% in total viewers. In the adults 18-49 demographic, Sunday’s winning game got a 5.1 rating, which was up 55% over last year’s October 26 game. The 2014 World Series went to seven games, with the final match-up getting a 6.6 rating on October 29 after what had been a record-low series. Up against the seven games of 2014, this year’s World Series bopped up 6% in total viewership — even with two fewer games.