KANSAS CITY, Mo. — There's an ownership shakeup in the works in Major League Baseball, and the Indians find themselves partially involved.
According to Ken Rosenthal and Jayson Stark of The Athletic, a group led by Tribe Vice-chairman and minority owner John Sherman is in talks to buy the Kansas City Royals from current owner David Glass. Specifics of any possible deal or whether or not the side are close are not known at this time, and Glass has yet to publicly express any intention to sell the team.
However, ESPN's Jeff Passan says "expected" to be finalized, and that the price may be in the $1 billion range.
The 64-year-old Sherman, a Kansas City native, founded LPG Services and Inergy L.P. in the 1990s. The former merged with Dynergy and later became a public company, while the latter merged with Crestwood Holdings in a deal worth billions of dollars. Sherman currently sits on the Crestwood board of directors.
Sherman purchased a minority stake in the Indians in August of 2016 following extensive talks with the Dolan family, and Tribe Chairman and CEO Paul Dolan considers Sherman a "partner." Sherman's exact stake in the club is not known, although his participation certainly helps bring in extra cash to a mid-market team.
David Glass, an ex-CEO of Walmart who will turn 84 on Labor Day, became interim chairman and CEO of the Royals in September of 1993 when team founder Ewing Kauffman died of cancer. In 2000, he purchased the club from Kauffman's estate for $96 million and installed his son Dan as president. He was reportedly the only credible bidder who was not seeking to relocate the franchise.
For most of Glass' tenure, Kansas City has been one of the worst teams in the American League, with just four winning seasons and five years of 100 losses or more. They had previously been a perennial contender under Kauffman, and many have blamed Glass for cutting costs and failing to keep top players like Kevin Appier, Johnny Damon, and Carlos Beltran.
Glass did enjoy some very bright spots, though, starting when a Royals team rebuilt by general manager Dayton Moore captured the American League pennant in 2014. They did the same the very next year, and went on to win KC's first World Series championship since 1985. Still, most of the biggest stars were not re-signed in the ensuing seasons, and the team fell back to the basement with 104 losses in 2018 and is just 46-86 this year.
Rosenthal and Stark say Royals revenues are expected to "increase significantly" following the negotiation of a new television deal after this season. In addition, the club Glass once bought for $96 million is now valued by Forbes at $1.025 billion, not far behind the AL Central-rival Indians (MLB disputes these figures).
It is unknown how a possible Sherman divestment could impact the Indians' financial situation going forward. WKYC has reached out to the team, but officials declined to comment.