$55 million to sign Gil Meche in 2007. Another $36 million for Jose Guillen in 2008, and more money spent on signing their 2008 draft class than ANY other organization in baseball. Can we finally put to rest the "Kansas City never spends any money" whine?
Keep in mind, the Royals were on the table with Torii Hunter for $75 million before the Angels blew everyone away last offseason AND actually offered Andruw Jones (thank god he didn't take it!) more overall money than the Dodgers. You can certainly argue with how the Royals have spent or attempted to spend their money, but it is hard to make the argument that they aren't spending it.
Sure, the Royals will never battle the Red Sox and Yankees, dollar for dollar, in the open market, and they may struggle to even get into the top half of baseball in total overall salary, but the days of every move, however minor, being predicated on the monetary equation are gone. Kansas City may not be free spenders, but they certainly have made a move up to money managers as opposed to money mizers.
Even trades, however speculative or non-fact based they may be, seem to no longer be governed by the almighty dollar. The Royals might trade Zack Greinke, but it will be because they are getting major and multiple prospects in return.
They might be shopping Mark Teahen (if Dayton Moore is not, as he vehemently denied the recent rumors, then he should be), but it has little to do with Teahen being arbitration eligible and more to do with his uncertain performance.
All of the above does not mean that there will not be contract-driven trades in the future. Heck, even the Yankees and Sox make contract-driven trades. Let's play the example game: Assume for a moment that Billy Butler turns into the absolute masher we are all waiting for over the next couple of years. You know, a .900 OPS guy with 40 doubles and 25 homers.
Would the Royals be cheap to look at trading a one-dimensional star coming up on free agency for two A-level prospects, or would they be smart? Depending on what Billy weighs at age 26 and just what level he mashes at; a five-year, god-knows-how-much contract might be a logical, not cheap, thing to avoid.
Now, it is easier to spend money when you are seeing improvement and, more importantly, starting to win. What happens if the Royals post a 78-84 record in 2009? Will the Glass family have the stomach to stick in for more millions and more years? That is the, pardon the pun, million-dollar question, isn't it?