May 9, 2012; Kansas City, MO, USA; Kansas City Royals general manager Dayton Moore watches batting practice before a game against the Boston Red Sox at Kauffman Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Peter G. Aiken-US PRESSWIRE

Dayton Moore's Itchy Trigger Finger

Earlier today, the Oakland A’s, Arizona Diamondbacks and Miami Marlins agreed to a deal that moved outfielder Chris Young to Oakland and Heath Bell to Arizona.

Offseason moves are officially underway – which means Dayton Moore must be getting the shakes. He’s shown a pattern the last few years of making a move almost as soon as he could.

In 2008, he traded the pitcher formerly known as Leo Nunez (now Juan Carlos Oviedo) to the Marlins for first baseman Mike Jacobs. That happened on October 30. Less than a month later on November 19, he sent pitcher Ramon Ramirez to Boston for Coco Crisp.

The next offseason, he traded Mark Teahen to Chicago for Chris Getz and Josh Fields. That was November 6, 2009. Only 369 days later, he finished the David DeJesus trade, getting pitchers Justin Marks and Vin Mazzaro back. And last year on November 7, he traded Melky Cabrera for Jonathan Sanchez.

While I’m sure there’s no official policy in the Royals front office, it seems that Moore wants to get ahead of everything and finish a trade as soon after the postseason as he can. Maybe he wants to know what he has before free agency gets moving or before having to make decisions about the 40 man roster. This year, the Royals have to have their 40 man roster finalized by November 20 in order to protect players who’ll be eligible for the Rule 5 draft. The timing matters.

There could also be an element of jumping the gun here, too. Last year, Moore signed Bruce Chen way before much of the market had been set. Perhaps he could have found a similar player who would have signed for similar money. Less than two weeks after Chen signed for two years and $9 million, Chris Capuano signed a two year deal for $10 million guaranteed with the Dodgers. Chen’s ERA was 5.07 in 191.2 innings. Capuano – more than a year younger – had a 3.72 ERA in 198.1 innings. Aaron Harang signed a two year deal with the Dodgers as well on December 8. For 11 million dollars, they got 179 .2 innings of 3.61 ERA pitching.

I’d rather have either of those Dodgers deals.

Now there’s no guarantee going into 2012 that it would turn out that way, but once the Royals signed Chen, it took them out of the running to sign another pitcher (at least in their minds):

 Once we had those three guys [Chen, Sanchez and Luke Hochevar] we were committed to, to do anything else would block those young guys from getting an opportunity. – Dayton Moore, 2/13/12

This year, there’s a good chance Moore will make some moves early again. The Royals are looking for pitching, and while the free agent starters may not sign until December, a trade could be made to snag a starter from another team. The Royals might also look for an alternative to Lorenzo Cain if he proves to remain injury prone or a replacement for Johnny Giavotella if they don’t think that Christian Colon will be ready soon enough or that Irving Falu could play second full time (and assuming they don’t bring Chris Getz back).

His MO has been to get a deal done soon, though, and this year, it’s a storyline to watch while the 2012 season winds down.

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