John Sherman just showed us what kind of owner of the Royals he intends to be

On May 31, 2006, then Royals owner David Glass introduced the man he hoped would lead his baseball cellar franchise, a young Braves executive named Dayton Moore, a man with local connections he had once seen. the Royals win the 1985 World Series from a view on I-70. Moore found the situation with the Royals worse than he imagined, but asked fans to “trust the process”. It took seven years, longer than expected, but culminated with two of the most amazing post-season races in recent baseball history, which resulted in two pennants and a world championship.

Flags fly forever, but fortunes change rapidly in baseball. Pitchers lose the zipper on their fastball. The batters find that they can no longer keep up with the heat. Executives cannot tap into the same magic that has united a team and a city in glorious jubilation.

On Wednesday afternoon, the new owner of the Royals John Sherman showed us what kind of owner he will be by firing Moore after sixteen years as the head of the organization. It would have been easy for Sherman to keep Moore: he has a ring, respect for the game of baseball, a mountain of goodwill for him to work in the Kansas City community. But Sherman has shown that he will not be caught in nostalgia or satisfied with simply having an organization of good people doing their best.

“The goal is to get back in shape, compete for a league on behalf of our big fans, play meaningful baseball this time of year. Our goal that we can compete consistently and sustainably.”

In his comments to reporters, John Sherman made it clear that there will be no excuse for not fielding a competing team. He pointed to the successes of other small-market teams in player development: the Brewers, the Rays, the Athletics and the organization he was once a part of, the Guardians. Although he downplayed free will as a method for small-market teams to build a roster, he raised expectations for player development and emphasized creating a consistent winner.

“I’m not just tired of losing, I’m tired of aiming high in the draft … you don’t have to have a top five pick to build your team.”

Leading this effort will be JJ Picollo, who has worked side by side with Dayton Moore for decades. This will raise doubts as to whether or not his leadership may or may not turn the Royals in a different direction than they were headed under Moore. Picollo started out with scouting, but more recently he has spearheaded much of the effort to bring the Royals up to date with data and analysis. He often works with the Royals’ head of research and development, Daniel Mack, when he explores players. As Kansas City Star’s Sam McDowell said, “Getting Picollo to implement data – or make it more important – in organizational decision-making won’t be a chore. He’s among those at the forefront of this indictment.”

Sherman also made it clear that the ability to implement data into decision making was a driving force behind his decision. “I think sometimes maybe the data isn’t as important as it should be in this organization,” he told reporters. “We need to make more data-driven decisions.”

The Royals have tried to catch up on the data revolution in baseball, but have continually found themselves behind the curve, detailed in part in a pitch development piece in The Athletic this week. Picollo was part of that organization behind the curve, but reading between the lines of Sherman’s statements, it appears that Dayton Moore’s leadership may have been the obstacle to maximizing the use of all the data they were gathering.

“We have the data … it’s really about how you use it and where it matters – when you’re drafting, when you’re having an analysis with a commercial counterpart … anecdotes are fine, but I want to see what’s underneath. those stories.

Picollo also represents an opportunity for the Royals to be more “transactional”, something Moore talked about but resisted implementation. This summer, the Royals added 13 players in six exchanges, perhaps a sign of how Picollo intends to operate. Sherman indicated this was an important element he wanted to see outside the organization.

“But it’s not just about player development. It is also about your willingness to change your players. I don’t want to use the word “dropout”, because these are athletes. But I intend to build an organization where you have excess talent that would allow you to get more talent to meet your needs. “

“I think on the one hand it’s about development; on the one hand it is the data-based decision-making process; on the one hand, it’s about being willing and trying to update your team at all times. “

We haven’t heard much from Sherman since he took over in the fall of 2019. Some of these may have been him getting his feet wet and taking a look at the joint, albeit a pandemic and a disruption to the joint. work have also created a wrench in things. But this week he made his mark on the organization and signaled a plan to move the Royals into modern baseball. “Player development is something that is changing, it’s changing rapidly,” he said. Dayton Moore will forever be appreciated in this city for what he has done. But the game has changed, and while we’ll see if JJ Picollo is the right man for the job, owner John Sherman has made it clear that the Royals need to change with it.


Did the Royals make the right move with their leadership?

  • 2%

    No, he should have kept Dayton Moore

    (24 votes)

  • 33%

    No, he should have hired a new GM, not JJ Picollo

    (358 votes)

1084 total votes

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