The Kansas City Royals continue to hover around the .500 mark, despite having many of their long-awaited prospects in place with enough major-league experience to be in their primes. Right now, Kansas City remains on the fringes of the wild card race, which is a far cry from what GM Dayton Moore promised when he embarked on a long-term rebuild that emphasized developing the farm system.
The payoff was supposed to be a long window of opportunity in which the Royals would contend for division titles and go deep into the playoffs, not a lottery ticket to the “coin-flip” game.
Now, to make up the difference, the Royals front office scrambled to patch roster holes at the trade deadline. Though their failure to make a significant upgrade hurts, especially while rivals Detroit and Oakland added headline starters in David Price and Jon Lester, the real problem runs mjuch deeper.
What’s wrong? Why does Moore’s long rebuild look like it will not meet the long-term goal?
The fundamental problem is that Dayton Moore’s “vision” of a winning Kansas City team is stuck in the 80’s.
Kansas City enjoyed a dominant decade in the mid-70’s through the mid-80’s with a team built around pitching and defense. The Royals fielded lineups full of contact hitters that hit the ball in the gaps and ran the bases like hell. They didn’t walk much, but they hit plenty of singles, moved baserunners, and ran like crazy.
While that blueprint seemed perfectly tailored to Kauffman Stadium’s spacious outfield (which, as Royals’ officials like to remind us, has more outfield square footage than any park in MLB), it simply doesn’t fit today’s game.
I’m sure that today’s Royals squad would have dominated the 80’s, but 3 things have happened that turned a would-be dynasty into the .500 team we see today.