SPRINGDALE, Ark. —
David Glass was as excited as anyone with the Kansas City organization about the offseason moves that led to a revamped pitching rotation.
Now the Royals owner is ready for the changes to translate to success on the field.
Glass attended a stop on the Kansas City caravan Monday near his home in northwest Arkansas, where the Royals Double-A affiliate is located. The often-criticized Glass hasn't experienced the playoffs since becoming the team's owner in 2000. He praised general manager Dayton Moore and said the offseason trades that brought pitchers James Shields and Ervin Santana were part of Kansas City's "overall plan.''
Shields was acquired, along with Wade Davis, from Tampa Bay in December - after posting a 15-10 mark with a 3.51 ERA last season. That followed the move a month earlier that brought Santana from the Los Angeles Angels. The combination of the two moves has Glass thinking big for this season.
"My expectation for this year is for us to be very competitive,'' Glass said. "I think the expectation level, from talking to the players, the manager and the general manager; all of them believe that they can compete in the Central Division and that we've got a shot at winning it.''
Kansas City hasn't reached the playoffs since winning the World Series in 1985, and it hasn't had a winning season since finishing 83-80 in 2003. The Royals, whose minor league system has been praised in recent years under Moore, were 72-90 last season - their fourth straight season with an improved win total.
Moore tapped into that farm system to pry Shields away from the Rays, packaging top prospect Wil Myers in the deal. The outfielder hit .314 with 37 home runs and 109 RBIs last season, and he excelled in the All-Star Futures Game in Kansas City.
Glass said he expects Myers to develop into "an All-Star player'' in the majors, but he said the move was needed to help improve a starting rotation that combined for a 5.01 ERA last season - fifth-worst in the big leagues. He also said a smaller market such as Kansas City must rely on player development and trading prospects to acquire top established players, rather than doing so in free agency.
"The whole thing was not knee jerk,'' Glass said. "It's part of the overall plan.
"... The only thing we were really short on was starting pitching. We've got a great bullpen, so (Moore) decided now's the time to step up and dramatically improve your starting pitching and go for it, see what you can do about winning your division,'' he added.
Glass said the trade for Shields wasn't the only one the Royals discussed during the offseason in an attempt to bring in a top starting pitcher, and he said there were "some other alternatives'' that he preferred more than Moore. However, he trusted the general manager's opinion and is hopeful the flurry of activity has invigorated both the Kansas City fan base and organization.
"We've got great fans who deserve a team that wins more than we've won,'' Glass said. "... I think all of us believe that we're getting there.''