Kansas City may face financial dilemma

Updated: May 15, 2003, 12:11 PM ET
By Jim Baker | MLB Insider
Murray Chass has an interesting article on the Kansas City Royals in today's New York Times, the crux of which is the dilemma the team could be facing should it remain in contention deeper into the season. As is well-known, team owner David Glass gave his general manager, Allard Baird, a mandate to slash payroll. To this point, Baird has managed to fulfill some of his boss's wishes, but has not cut the entire desired amount.

He tells Chass that he has a deadline of July 31 to complete the reduction from $47.6 million down to $37.6 million. This leads Chass to write, "But what if the Royals are in first place or close to it when they approach the trading deadline? Would they trade outfielder Carlos Beltran or third baseman Joe Randa to reduce the payroll and potentially undercut the progress the team has made?" Baird defers to Glass on the matter, but Glass isn't talking at the moment.

The Royals attempted to sign Beltran to a long-term contract but he and his agent decided it was in his best interest to keep things short so that he could cash in on the free agent market while still in his prime. This impasse has created the impression it's not a matter of if Beltran will be traded, but when. Should the team find itself in striking distance of the top come the trading deadline, decisions will have to be made about the value of a shot at the division title as opposed to perhaps not getting maximum value for the team's most tradable commodity.
Jim Baker is an author at Baseball Prospectus and a frequent contributor to Page 2. You can e-mail Jim at