“We’re going to try to get better at the deadline,” says Royals owner John Sherman

Cleveland Guardians v Kansas City Royals
Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images

Selling at the deadline is not on the owner’s radar.

The Royals have played well beyond expectations so far, and are just a few games back of a Wild Card spot, but a slide in which they have lost 21 of 35 games has left some fans feeling uncertain about the likelihood the team can make a push to the playoffs. The slump has led to some fans to suggest the team should consider being sellers at the July 30 trade deadline. But when Royals owner John Sherman was asked whether the Royals would consider being sellers he responded, “that’s not on my radar.”

Sherman talked to 610 Sports insider Josh Vernier this week about the surprise start from the team, stating “we are very motivated to make the playoffs.”

“We’re going to try to get better at the deadline,” said the owner when discussing how the Royals might approach the trade deadline. “We’re going to try to get better in the short term and the long term, particularly if we’re going to give up any part of our future. When we think about putting prospects on the table, that’s got to be something that going to make us better not just in 2024, but 2025, 2026 as well.”

Sherman indicated he has discussed the approach with General Manager J.J. Picollo several times, and while he wouldn’t rule out a short-term move, the preference seems to be to build something for the long-term.

“I’m not saying that we wouldn’t add something short-term, but I’d rather take on payroll and not give prospects in those situations.”

Sherman also talked about wanting to have the same sort of development success as the Rays and Guardians, but with a Royals brand of baseball. He emphasized pitching, a good defense with speed and athleticism with an ability to apply pressure to opponents on the basepaths.

He also discussed attendance and how there is a lag between on-field success and more tickets sold. Regardless, he noted progress at the gate with a projected 25 percent increase in attendance even without a playoff run, with hopes the team can eventually average 2 million fans per season. He cited that local television ratings are up 20 percent, even with subscriber loss due to Bally Sports Kansas City. He mentioned he wants to get out of blackout restrictions and that baseball is working long-term on a solution with Diamond Sports in bankruptcy.

“Long-term, we want to get paid in our media rights…but reach is more important than revenue,” said Sherman. “Expanding our reach – the revenue will follow. Access is what’s more important than making money in the short term.”

Finally, Sherman didn’t have much new to say about the stadium issue, only saying he was committed to the region and that “we’re going to get that right”, asking fans to have patience.

The next few weeks will be important for this Royals franchise, but it doesn’t sound like they are expecting to trade away veterans like Seth Lugo, Michael Wacha, or Hunter Renfroe. If anything, they will likely look to add players that can be here for the next few years. But with the farm system by evaluators with little high-end talent, it is fair to ask what the Royals have to offer to get such talent. Perhaps the Royals are willing to eat an expensive salary in order to get a veteran player, or maybe they will take on a bad contract if it comes with a quality young player. In any case, the Royals seem likely to continue building towards something, rather than tearing it down.

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Title: “We’re going to try to get better at the deadline,” says Royals owner John Sherman
Author: Max Rieper

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