For those of you who don’t know who Dayton Moore is, he is the GM of the Kansas City Royals. For those of you wondering why I am talking about the Royals, well, that’s a good question. Aside from the Royals being in the Tigers division, the idea for this article was spurred on by a conversation about Tigers GM David Dombrowski that I was having with a friend. Essentially we were talking about the strengths and weaknesses of the Tigers GM, and inevitably came to the conclusion that while Dombrowski is far from perfect, at least he isn’t as bad as some other GM’s out there. That of course got me thinking about A.L. Central GM’s, and so here we are.
Let me first say that I believe that Dayton Moore has his good qualities. Moore knows amateur talent in general, and has arguably had one of the best farm systems for about five years now. In fact, the Royals still have a strong farm system, and that is after graduating about ten to fifteen guys out of prospect status the past couple years. Good talented players too that include; Eric Hosmer, Mike Moustakas, Salvador Perez, Aaron Crow, Kelvin Herrera, Tim Collins, and Greg Holland. There are numerous others that have spent significant time in the majors, and more on the way, including top prospect Wil Myers.
Moore made the farm system a priority after realizing that free agency just isn’t a viable route for the small market Kansas City franchise. Couple that with a lot of losing since the 1980’s, and the Royals aren’t a destination for free agents. Building mostly from within is the right mode, but that window where their young players are in their prime is going to close soon, and the Royals are in danger of having nothing to show for it. Why?
Well, what is obvious to everyone, is that the Royals don’t have the starting pitching talent to match their positional player talent. With the cupboard in the minor league system still stocked full, that begs the question, why don’t the Royals have a pitching staff?
The answer is that Dayton Moore doesn’t have any idea how to utilize his assets, something that we should be thankful that Tigers GM David Dombrowski is good at. Maybe even great. One of the downfalls of the Tigers GM is that the Tigers farm system has consistently ranked down near the bottom in terms of talent. Part of that is organizational philosophy, and part of that is that the Tigers just aren’t as good at judging amateur talent. But major credit goes to Dombrowski for maximizing his assets and getting viable and productive major leaguers from his minor league talent. Dayton Moore could learn a thing or two here.
The lesson being that most minor league talent doesn’t work out to the levels you expect it to.
The core is there for the Royals to compete, and it resides on offense. Billy Butler and Alex Gordon are two of the best at their respective decisions. Shortstop Alcides Escobar is getting better by the day, and Salvador Perez might have the brightest future of them all. Having that much offensive talent won’t mean a thing though if the Royals don’t pitch. Moore knows that. The Royals moves so far?
They made a trade for the Angels Ervin Santana, only giving up a minor league reliever in return. It’s worth the gamble, but it isn’t a longer term solution, and isn’t the kind of move to have a big effect on the 2013 season. They re-signed Jeremy Guthrie, but he is a middle of the road guy anyway. The Royals need top end pitching. The kind you only get by trading away some of the farm, or some of the young talented position players they already have.
The Royals and Dayton Moore have been too slow in doing so. For the past couple of years, the Royals have been seen as an up and coming team, with the coming season of 2013 as a target to truly compete. Some of us here at MCB have even thought the Royals potentially presented a formidable foe, including this writer. That was before the Royals inability to develop or find adequate starting pitching. There has of course been some bad luck for the Royals. Danny Duffy had to go under the knife in 2012, as did top pitching prospect John Lamb, late in 2011. Pitching prospects Mike Montgomery and Chris Dwyer haven’t worked out, like a lot of prospects. But teams should have contingencies for that. More specifically, GM Dayton Moore has to have contingencies for that.
Moore hasn’t seemed to have the answers necessary to get the Royals to a level where they compete. If I was a Royals fan, I would be pissed. They have been more than patient, and yet, the Royals continually put a 70 win product on the field. Earlier this off-season, the Royals had said that they were not wanting to deal guys like Wil Myers, even if it was for a pitcher like Matt Moore? Now, reports suggest that the Royals are listening. Really? It’s about time. Why on earth would the Royals with their team dynamics not listen to any deal that involves a top starting pitcher? What good is it Mr. Moore to have a deep and talented farm system if you can’t use some of those commodities to improve the current product you are putting on the field?
The Royals don’t need to continue toiling away in the 4th place in the A.L. Central. They just need Dayton Moore to show some courage, and deal for somebody that isn’t just another guy. He has the assets, he just needs to identify the right players in a deal that will help.
And there is the rub…can Moore even do that? His past trades shouldn’t inspire too much confidence in that regard. And that’s why, until I see different this off-season, I for one am not falling for the promise of the Royals again…and you shouldn’t either.