I have sat on the fence long enough. I finally feel strongly enough to declare I think Dayton Moore should be removed as the general manager of the Kansas City Royals.
I like Dayton Moore and I believe he loves the Royals, and has worked to bring about things with the best interests of the Royals foremost in his heart. No one has wanted Moore to be successful anymore than I have. With all my soul, I have wanted Moore to be able to turn this team around by now. It just hasn’t happened. Someone has to be accountable.
In my imagination, I see this fictional, but possible meeting taking place with David Glass sometime after the 2012 season was over. In my mind, it went something like this:
Dayton Moore: “Mr. Glass, our offense is ready to break out. If we can just get some pitching, we have a great chance at winning the AL Central.”
David Glass: “Dayton, are you sure. Some of these players haven’t progressed as we had hoped.”
DM: “Absolutely, sir. Look, Mike Moustakas had a great first half but was injured for most of the second half. He gutted it out without saying much but it affected his play. He will be healthy. Eric Hosmer just had a bad year. You know, normal growing pains. He is on the verge of stardom. We aren’t going to be able to afford him when much longer. This window is closing with those guys.”
DG: “What about the others? Billy and Alex.”
DM: “Those guys are steady as rocks, sir. Billy Butler has turned the corner with his power. He’s a 30 home run guy now. Alex Gordon is as good as they come. Heck, even Alcides Escobar has started to hit. This team is ready.”
DM: “Absolutely, Mr Glass. Those two guys are going to be terrific. They suffered setbacks in their playing time, but we are not worried about them.”
DM: “I know they have struggled but both are great teammates and great examples to the others on how to hustle and play hard. Last season was rough for both, but I believe they are going to be much better this season. We can look around but I’m not sure if there is anyone out there we can afford to bring in as replacements.”
DG: “I agree, our rotation is awful. What is it going to cost to improve it? We can’t afford much over $70 million.”
DM: “That’s the issue, sir. I can revamp this rotation but it is going to cost $25-$30 million and some prospects. The Angels have a couple of guys we could probably get without ponying up too much talent but their salaries are around $10 million, just for 2013. There are couple of veterans like R.A. Dickey and James Shields that are available in the right deal. Dickey is only $5 million this year but he will cost more down the road. Shields will cost us a little over $20 million but we would have him for 2 seasons. I can probably get one of those teams to throw in a major league ready starter in the right deal. One we can put at the back to deepen the rotation a bit.”
DG: “Two, possibly three, guys? Will that be enough?”
DM: “I think we can re-sign Jeremy Guthrie. He likes Kansas City and he is a big fan of our defense. I would like to sign him for a couple of years, but it may require 3 to get him.”
DG: “How much?”
DM: “$20-$25 million.”
DG: “Hmmm. Dayton, if we do all of this, it is going to push us over $80 million in payroll. We have to be sure we are going to at least be in the divisional race going down the stretch.”
DM: “Sir, this offense is ready. These guys are ready to take off. We just have to have some starting pitchers to stay in games.”
DG: “Who are we going to have to give up to get Dickey or Shields?”
DM: “It will probably be Wil Myers. I will try to avoid that at all costs, but I’m sure that is who the Mets and Rays are going to want.”
DG: “Dayton, you know that is going to be a hard sell. That kid is ours for the next 6 years. We cannot afford to be wrong on this. It will cost us for years if doesn’t work.”
DM: “I know that, sir. The offense is ready but if we don’t do something about the rotation, it won’t matter. Good starting pitching is expensive. We can win now. It will be worth it.”
DG: “Alright, Dayton. Go ahead and see what you can do.
DM: “Thank you, Mr. Glass. You won’t be disappointed. We are going to win some ball games this year.”
DG: “We had better, Dayton. If this doesn’t work, Dayton. It will be your job.”
DM: “I understand, Mr. Glass.
FADE TO BLACK
That scenario is obviously exaggerated and condensed but some similar conversation had to have taken place. Moore built this team. He made much needed moves to improve the pitching but he stood pat with an offense that just isn’t very good.
From the moment it first happened, I applauded Moore on trading for Shields. It was a big move that needed to be done. The fact that Moore obviously didn’t upgrade a single starting position in the field is going to be the downfall of his regime. There were some guys to be had; players that would have improved this offense. I have been vocal that I wanted Michael Bourn, but if not him, surely there was someone out there that could have been acquired.
I have also believed that Wade Davis was the key to the Shields/Myers deal. Shields was going to be Shields, and Myers was going to be Myers. For this trade to be a success for the Royals, Wade Davis had to become a number 3 starter, one under contract (with options) for 5 years, at a price that was affordable if, and only if, he turned out to be a good starter. Instead, we have another Kyle Davies/Luke Hochevar disaster on our hands.
So, here we are on July 24th, 46-51, slightly better than 2012, still 8 games back of Detroit. What are the chances the Royals make up 8 games in 65 games? Very, very slim. I want to believe it is possible, and it is possible, not just very likely. So what will Moore do?
The smart thing for him to do is to trade Ervin Santana and Greg Holland (at least) and get back as much as possible. While most agree that Santana is a no-brainer, I have had a few discussions with folks who are adamantly against trading Holland. I am on the side which thinks the Royals should have learned from the Joakim Soria situation. The two main lessons from that fiasco are that closers should be traded at the height of their value IF they are not in a pennant race, and that they can be replaced (see Greg Holland).
I think Dayton Moore is gone after this season. If he isn’t, then David Glass is paying even less attention than we already think. If Moore doesn’t trade at least Santana in the next week, Moore should be asked to leave now. The Royals are better than they were in 2006, if only slightly, but they are not making the playoffs, and it won’t even be close.
Dayton Moore should be commended for strengthening the Royals minors league system and Latin America department because he has. On the other hand, that improved minor league system has not produced any above average major leaguers who are producing for the Royals, other than maybe Salvador Perez and some relievers. There is still time for Eric Hosmer and Mike Moustakas but the chances of them being stars for this club are slim. Those are Moore’s guys.
In February 2011, I attended a fantasy baseball symposium in Chicago held by The Baseball Forecaster founder, Ron Shandler. At that symposium, Baseball America’s Jim Callis talked for several minutes about how great the Royals’ prospects were. At the time, Kansas City’s system was ranked as one of the best in baseball history. I heard Callis talk about how the Royals had as good a group of starting pitching prospects as Callis had ever seen – a group of five that included Mike Montgomery, Chris Dwyer, John Lamb, Jake Odorizzi, and Danny Duffy. He warned that percentages said only a couple would develop into major league number 1, 2, or 3 pitchers but the future was bright for the Royals.
Those dreams have been dashed completely. This organization has been unable to develop key position players or starting pitchers. Moore has drafted the talent but has been unable to make it work out. The fact Hosmer’s and Moustakas’ swings are a mess is a good sign the organization doesn’t really know what it takes to produce stars. That is a sad truth, in my opinion.
Seven years should have netted better results. We, as Royals fans, are out of patience and losing hope that a turnaround can ever be accomplished, especially by Dayton Moore. I like the man and I admire the effort he has put forth. The results just aren’t there and he is the one who has overseen development and put this team together. The players must produce but it is Moore’s job to put players on the field that can produce.
That’s it for me. I wish him luck but Kansas City has to go a different direction. As far as I am concerned, Dayton Moore’s time has run out with the Royals.