Aug 13, 2013; Kansas City, MO, USA; Kansas City Royals general manager Dayton Moore watches batting practice before the game against the Miami Marlins at Kauffman Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

Kansas City Royals' Dayton Moore: The Gambler

Feb 18, 2014; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Kansas City Royals general manager Dayton Moore speaks to the media during MLB media day at Chase Field. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Feb 18, 2014; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Kansas City Royals general manager Dayton Moore speaks to the media during MLB media day at Chase Field. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports


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.

See if Moore’s moves pay off by grabbing Royals tickets at

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Tags: Dayton Moore Kansas City Royals

  • Bert45

    DM has also gambled in the draft with taking Dozier and then betting that Manaea would be there with the comp far that looks outstanding.

    • jessanders

      This, coupled with the Salvy extension, are the two best moves by GMDM in his tenure. My problem is I have trouble finding many other moves that are even just decent.

  • unclejesse40

    I think GMDM has done a fine job when it comes to Latin America, the mlb draft, and the acquisition of low to middle level talent, but he has not shown me yet that he can win a big boy trade. Melky for Sanchez was a disaster, and yes I know he was able to turn that into Guthrie but he never knew that was going to happen when he made that trade. And the Shields trade has cost a lot, Myers and Odorizzi are looking like they will be important pieces for Tampa moving forward, and Montgomery at least can be a power bullpen arm if he never figures it out in the rotation, and if he does well this trade super sucks. I do agree that Shields has given us a new rotation mentality which has a ton of value, but my point is that GMDM needs to show that he can trade with the big boys. He needs to show me in the near future that he can turn one of our stud players into a minor league haul of soon to be starters like Tampa did to us. If and when GMDM does that I will be all in with him, right now I am about 75% in.

    • jessanders

      He over-values mediocrity. That’s his biggest problem. Signing pitchers like Vargas and Guthrie to long term deals. These are guys that you should be able to get on minor league deals with incentives for performance.

      There’s no reason to be paying Chen, Davis, Guthrie and Vargas a combined 23+ million on a 90 million payroll. All three of them are essentially replacement level players (Vargas maybe being slightly better, IDK enough about him to judge).