View Full Version : Baird says it again: Royals unlikely to pursue any big-name free agents

keg in kc
10-12-2002, 04:43 AM
Ugh. More good news.

Baird says it again: Royals unlikely to pursue any big-name free agents (http://www.kansascity.com/mld/kansascity/sports/4265286.htm)

The Kansas City Star
Posted on Sat, Oct. 12, 2002

Just because the Royals are shedding some big-money contracts in the off-season doesn't mean they plan to redirect those savings toward another potential impact free agent.

"I do not see that happening," general manager Allard Baird said. "We're in a rebuilding process and committed to younger players. There's also an economic factor to consider."

Baird's words are consistent with the position he has taken in recent weeks and suggest the club has no plans to heed media urgings to pursue Indians first baseman Jim Thome -- or someone similar -- in an effort to rebound from a 62-100 record.

Baird said he is still waiting to get a final payroll allowance for 2003 from owner David Glass. But Baird expects it will be lower than this year's opening-day figure of $47.2 million.

Glass has said he can't determine a payroll ceiling until he gets firm numbers from Major League Baseball regarding the amount of revenue sharing the Royals can expect to receive for 2003.

The Royals began paring their payroll before the season ended by announcing they don't intend to resign reliever Roberto Hernandez, outfielder Chuck Knoblauch and infielder Luis Alicea.

All three are pending free agents. Hernandez made $6 million in 2002, while Knoblauch made $2 million and Alicea made $800,000.

The club also seems unlikely to tender a contract to shortstop Neifi Perez, who made $4.1 million, and might not offer one to pitcher Jeff Suppan, who made $3.8 million.

The combined savings from those five players is $16.7 million.

But the Royals must budget for a $3 million increase for All-Star first baseman Mike Sweeney, whose salary jumps from $8 million to $11 million. Club officials also expect the salary of outfielder Carlos Beltran to double from $3.5 million to $7 million in arbitration.

The Royals also want to keep pitcher Paul Byrd, who is eligible for free-agency after compiling a 17-11 record and 3.90 earned-run average. Byrd had a base salary of $850,000 in 2002 but probably will command at least $3 million a year in a multiyear deal.

Outfielder Raul Ibanez is also in for a big raise from $800,000 after batting .294 with 24 homers and 103 RBIs.

Pay raises for Sweeney, Beltran, Byrd and Ibanez could amount to more than $10 million.

The Royals also are affected more than many clubs by a provision in the new labor agreement that raises the minimum salary from $200,000 to $300,000. They opened last year with nine of their 25 players making less than $300,000.

Indictment in Gamboa attack

A man who ran onto the field at Comiskey Park with his son and attacked Royals coach Tom Gamboa was indicted Friday on three counts of aggravated battery and one of mob action.

William Ligue Jr., 34, was charged with attacking Gamboa on Sept. 19 and causing the coach to lose some of his hearing.

Ligue's arraignment is scheduled for Nov. 1, according to the Cook County State's Attorney's Office. He is being held on $200,000 bond.

Ligue's 15-year-old son faces juvenile charges of aggravated battery and mob action for attacking Gamboa and an off-duty state trooper who was working as a Comiskey Park security guard.

Crosby in rehab

The Royals expect outfield prospect Roscoe Crosby to arrive within a few days at their new complex in Surprise, Ariz., for rehabilitation work on his right elbow.

Crosby, 19, was the club's second-round draft pick in 2001 and has been pursuing a two-sport career as a receiver at Clemson. He received a $1.75 million signing bonus that diminishes significantly if he chooses to become a full-time football player.

"I talked to his representative," Baird said, "and (Crosby) wants to work in baseball-skilled environment. Obviously, we'd like him to play baseball (on a full-time basis)."

At present, Crosby has no plans to give up either sport, He plans to return to Clemson in January to resume college and his football career. He then plans to continue his baseball career next summer.

"A lot of people don't understand," Crosby said. "They ask me why I haven't picked one sport. That just shows me they don't know much about me."

Crosby underwent surgery in June to reattach the ulnar collateral ligament in elbow. The procedure is commonly known as Tommy John surgery.

10-12-2002, 08:55 PM
Well that's not AWFUL...we're trying to keep most of our best players. Hernandez is the only player in that article I'd be really concerned about losing, because he's usually reliable in shutting the door. Suppan can be a decent pitcher, but I'm not sure if one of the youngsters couldn't put up the numbers he did this year. Perez, Knoblauch, etc...they all can hit the road. The bad part is not losing players, it's that we aren't going to be able to put the money somewhere else for guys to replace them.

keg in kc
10-13-2002, 04:03 AM
Originally posted by tk13
The bad part is not losing players, it's that we aren't going to be able to put the money somewhere else for guys to replace them. That's what I was referring to...

We're going to cut all these guys, but then give all the money we've saved to guys currently on the team (which is okay, if it's the guys they referred to). So I guess we truly are going to do a youth movement, because there's no way we can afford to fill the roster with anyone but the cheapest possible options; that's the only choice if we want to lower the payroll below last year's $47 million mark...

I'd be okay with that if any of the talent the Royals bring up were anything close to major league-calibre talent. But our minor league system looks frighteningly devoid of anybody with any future. What are we going to do, replace sucky veterans with sucky rookies who probably won't be on major league rosters a couple of years down the road?

What's the net gain?

Hopefully we find some way to aquire some talent. Trades maybe. I don't know.

Way, way too early to make any predictions, but I'm wondering if we won't see a team even worse than the '02 Royals next year. Hate to be so pessimistic so early, but I haven't heard anything from the franchise that would make me think anything else. I'm having a hard time discerning if we're actually making any effort to field a competitive team, since we're saying we're cutting payroll and apparently won't be replacing anyone we let go with major league players...