Much like the Kenny Rogers song, Dayton Moore should be known as “The Gambler”. He’s hedging his bets, he’s going all in, and various other mixed metaphors.
After the inept bungling of the Allard Baird administration, Moore was tapped to rebuild the minor league system as well as to show a basic level of competence in handling free agents at the major league level.
These were both tall orders and I don’t know that a lot of Royals fans are aware of just how bad things were until recently. The Kansas City Royals were the Detroit Lions of baseball. Botching one high draft pick after another, perennially in the same position to embarrass themselves.
It took quite a lot of time and fair criticism, but Moore has finally put the organization in a position to be successful. How, you might ask? He knew when to hold ‘em, knew when to fold ‘em, etc.
He knew he had little chance of resigning Zack Greinke when free agency rolled around again, so he gambled on prospects for building a base for the future. In the past that kind of trade netted us the Neifi Perez‘s of the world.
Last year he gambled that solidifying the rotation and riding a solid defense would be more important than potential power-hitting. (He must have watched the 2003 season)
He doubled down, acquiring one low risk, high reward pitcher in Ervin Santana, hoping his fly ball tendencies would disappear in a pitcher-friendly park, then a medium risk, high reward pitcher in James Shields to anchor a staff nearly void of talent. The Wade Davis element of the gamble was an unmitigated disaster, but Ervin Santana‘s performance negated the damage to a certain extent.
This year Dayton Moore gambled once again that the young arms in our farm system would rise to the occasion and fill the void left by the resurgent Santana. So far, he seems to be right. Yordano Ventura was placed on the Royals starting rotation today after a dominant spring.
This is all part of the plan, I assure you. You didn’t actually buy Jason Vargas being the true number two this year, did you? If so, I have a bridge closure in New Jersey to sell you.
Moore’s next, and biggest gamble this year is that fixing the offensive under performance of key players last year and the removal of Wade Davis‘s bloated ERA (it was, like, 40) will be enough to statistically balance out the absence of Ervin Santana.
If these gambles don’t pan out this year then I pray Dayton Moore knows when to walk away and knows when to run.
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