Frank White has been a mainstay in the Royals’ organization for the better part of 40 years. However, his run with the team has come to an end.
When reached Sunday, White — who has served as a senior advisor with the club since 2007 — said he resigned last week as a full-time employee of the club. White, 60, was given a chance to remain with the Royals. However, he was told he would have to take a pay cut because his job with Fox Sports Kansas City limited the number of community appearances he made during the season, a requirement of his full-time position with the club.
“They felt like because I increased the number of games I did with Fox, I wasn’t able to be used as much they wanted to use me, so therefore, it required reduction in salary,” said White, who was upbeat and optimistic about his future on Sunday. “We just couldn’t come to an agreement on that.”
This will mark the first season since 1996 that White, a five-time all-star who won eight Gold Glove awards with the Royals, will not be a full-time employee for the club. He will, however, be back for his fourth season in the booth, and indicated has no hard feelings.
“I enjoyed the time I spent coaching, managing and going out in the community,” said White.
White, who was inducted into the Royals’ Hall of Fame in 1995, has been busy the past few years. In 2008, his first as a broadcaster, he estimates he called 24 games but saw his workload increase to around 135 games in 2009 and 120 games in 2010.
When asked, White said the Royals last season sent him on roughly 27 public relations appearances — which ranged from charity work to meetings with sponsors. The team said that number was fewer than in years past.
“When you’re doing north of 110 games a year, you’re out of town a lot,” said Toby Cook, the Royals’ vice president of community affairs and publicity. “And when you’re in town, you’re at the park in the early to mid-afternoon, so that really limits your availability.”
However, White will now get a chance to focus on his broadcast career.
“I think I was a little better last year than I was the year before,” White said of his broadcast experience. “It was something I enjoyed doing.
“But I’m a versatile guy, and there’s other things I could do and do very well,” he added.
One of those things, it would appear, is managing. In addition to managing the Wichita Wranglers from 2004 to 2006 (the Royals’ Class AA affiliate at the time), he also managed the Royals’ Arizona Fall League team in 2003, the Red Sox Gulf Coast Rookie League team in 1992 and the Red Sox Arizona Fall League team in 1995.
“I put in the work and put myself in a position to be a (big league) manager,” White said. “But probably, that time has passed.”
After his marvelous 18-year big-league career ended in 1990 — his No. 20 eventually was retired — White took one year off before joining the Boston Red Sox organization. He spent 1994 through 1996 as the Red Sox first base coach, before he rejoined the Royals at the end of the year.
Since then, the Kansas City native has held myriad positions with his hometown team, including stints as the Royals’ first base coach and special assistant to the general manager, before settling into his most recent position.
The Royals hope he will remain an active participant in their community events.
“My belief, and certainly my hope, is that he’s going to continue to make appearances for us,” Cook said.White, who said he will still support the Royals, won’t rule it out. He even offered his recent participation in FanFest and the team’s annual caravan as proof, though he wasn’t sure what other events he would take part in going forward.
“It’s one of those things where I have to wait and see what they want me to do and just go from there,” White said.
Millwood still in the mix?
In response to speculation the Royals were still interested in signing free agent right-hander Kevin Millwood, Royals general manager Dayton Moore reaffirmed his belief Sunday that the 40-man roster for Spring Training is 99.9 percent set.
“Obviously, I can’t and won’t comment about players that we are not going to acquire or attempting to acquire,” Moore said. “But like I said before, I don’t look for us to add anything to our roster before Spring Training unless something comes up that we’re not expecting.
“So what we have is what we’re going with at this point in time," Moore said " Unless something unforeseen happens.”
The speculation began when SI.com’s Jon Heyman wrote over the weekend that the Royals remain a possible destination for Millwood, who is believed to be in contract negotiations with the Cleveland Indians.
Millwood, 36, is prepared to enter his 15th season. He struggled with Baltimore last season, posting a 4-16 record with a 5.10 ERA. However, he did serve as a veteran workhorse, logging 190 2/3 innings and 31 starts in 2010.