There is something to be said about the blind squirrel getting the acorn every once in a while. For the Royals in recent history, that elusive acorn has been a winning season, with just two over the past two decades. That type of stretch may be acceptable for an expansion team, except that the four expansion teams that have entered the league over the past two decades have all made the World Series. For the Royals, such lofty goals have been mere flights of fancy, soon to fade away as swiftly as Ken Harvey‘s career.
Yet, there may be hope. Dayton Moore, despite all the panning of his beloved ‘process’, has managed to build a team that won more games than any other squad since 1989, a season where Tommy John, Nolan Ryan and Kent Tekulve were all still active major league players. With 21 of the players on the 40 man roster having come up through the system, and another wave of reinforcements on the way, this winning season may just be sustainable. As such, it is no surprise that the Royals have announced that Moore has been signed to a two year extension, lasting through the 2016 season.
“When Dayton’s contract was extended during the 2009 season, I felt that this franchise had begun to turn the corner and that we were pointed in the proper direction,” said the team president Dan Glass. “It’s been a challenging process, but we are now seeing tangible evidence that the process is working, thanks to the tireless efforts of Dayton and his Baseball Operations staff. Dayton is not only an outstanding baseball man, but he’s very much a part of our family and one of the top individuals I’ve ever had the pleasure of working with.”
However, for as much as this extension is a sign that Dayton Moore will be able to see his ‘process’ through to completion, it may be fair to wonder if this extension removes the incentive to win. It was thought that Moore may be fighting to keep his job heading into 2013, which may have partially explained the trades for Ervin Santana and James Shields. Now that Moore has that extension in his pocket, will he feel the same need to create a winner?
Royals fans certainly hope so. In a best case scenario, Moore will be able to balance building a winning ballclub with continuing to develop prospects that will help down the line. of course, it would also help the cause if Kyle Zimmer and Yordano Ventura develop into the type of pitchers that the Royals imagine they will become, and Mike Moustakas can actually develop into anything resembling an actual threat in the lineup. But when has the best case scenario ever actually happened?
The extension that Dayton Moore received was inevitable, and certainly deserved after the work that has been done with the minor leagues and in building a team that actually finished over .500. Hopefully, Moore realizes that his work is not yet complete, and that one winning season is not enough. Now, with his extension in hand, it is time for Moore to build a playoff caliber team.