Tonight, the Royals open up a series against the Texas Rangers. The Rangers are one of the best run franchises in Major League Baseball. Their prospects like Ian Kinsler, Nelson Cruz, Tommy Hunter and CJ Wilson (to name a few) are all homegrown talent that are big parts to the Rangers' run to the AL West pennant this season. They traded away Justin Smoak, one time Baseball America Top 10 prospect for the anti-walk, Cliff Lee. They were savvy with trades. Mark Teixeira was turned into Neftali Feliz. Vlad Guerrero was signed for a bargain bin rate in Free Agency.
Oh yeah, they were bankrupt at one point this year. But that is neither here nor there.
The Rangers are a FANTASTIC model for the Royals. Of course, the Royals don't have the population of a Dallas/Ft. Worth area, but the Rangers built their team the right way. Their Opening Day payroll was ranked 26th. The Royals were at #20!
This is the new era of Major League Baseball. The argument of small market/big market, small payroll/big payroll is over. Homegrown talent is the key.
But it isn't the only key. You've got to spend wisely in free agency. You've got to make good trades for veterans on the cheap and give very little away.
Follow the Texas Rangers' model and you will succeed.