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

Dayton Moore Under Pressure Heading into 2014

Apr 14, 2013; Kansas City, MO, USA; Kansas City Royals general manager Dayton Moore during batting practice before a game against the Toronto Blue Jays at Kauffman Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Peter G. Aiken-USA TODAY Sports

To say that expectations are high for the Royals heading into this season would be an understatement. The Royals are not only expected to compete for a playoff berth, but it seems that anything short of making the playoffs will be considered a failure. To aid in that quest, the Royals have a franchise record payroll over $90 Million, and are still being linked to other free agent starters. Being close will not be good enough again this season.

The pressure that now rests upon the shoulders of General Manager Dayton Moore is not only coming from the fanbase, but also from ownership at this point. In his list of the Top Ten Storylines to Watch in 2014 (Insider required), Buster Olney lists the Royals as one of several ballclubs that could be facing major changes should the season not go as expected. 2014 already appears as though it may be a key season for defining Ned Yost‘s legacy – could it be the same for Moore?

Much like Yost, Dayton Moore has had his share of detractors. His ‘Process’ had gone from a promise of a better future to a term of derision. Despite boasting one of, if not the best systems in the game, few of those prospects have really made an impact. Eric Hosmer and Salvador Perez have begun to tap into their potential, but few other players that have come through the system have been as advertised.

The farm system once again appears to be ready to help the major league roster. Young pitchers such as Danny Duffy and Yordano Ventura may be key pieces of the rotation in 2014, with Kyle Zimmer right on their heels. The influx of young talent, when paired with the right veterans, could allow the Royals to become a perennially competitive team. But will Moore be there to see The Process come to fruition?

Moore’s future with the organization may well come down to how the Royals perform this season. If the Royals underachieve, given David Glass and his history of squeezing every last dollar, that type of a season may be even more unacceptable than it typically would be. The Royals certainly appear to have a solid team at this point and should be well worth the investment. For Dayton Moore, the promise of this season will have to come through. His future may depend on it.

Tags: Dayton Moore Kansas City Royals

  • Chad Woelk

    If the Royals don’t add a true number 2 starter before the season starts, this season will not end well in my opinion. Hopefully the market crashes and they can bring back Santana or sign Ubaldo. Still shaking my head on the Vargas signing.

    • jimfetterolf

      With the feeding frenzy on Tanaka, I don’t see the pitching market crashing. Some teams have already lost their first and/or second picks and if they don’t get Tanaka the other three FA pitchers will go high, I think.

      I think Vargas was a reasonable replacement for Bruce Chen, younger and relatively cheap, cost about half the AAV of Bronson Arroyo last year with similar production. The #2 likely is filled in-house.

  • jimfetterolf

    It will all come down to health, as there is finally enough depth to minimize Moose under achieving again or problems with an SP or two or even to trade a little defense for some offense at SS. At this point I’ld say Lorenzo Cain will define the year, if he plays 130 games spread out evenly with days off, the Royals should be fine.

    As for Olney, he’s probably just guessing. I see nothing to suggest that Moore and Yost are under any more than normal pressure, contrary to what the haters of the Process might hope. The roster is solid, there is pitching depth, the kids learned some lessons last year, so health and a little luck will define where on the about ten game range of wins they will fall, just as for every other team. Just ask the Blue Jays and Angels.

    • Dave Hill

      I think he is reaching with the Royals to a degree. The biggest question I have is how ownership will react if this season does not go as planned. Will they consider this justification to stop spending, or, if the injury issues do crop up, will they accept that as the reason why the Royals did not make it in. It’s going to be an interesting season for Moore, and certainly one to watch, but I do not quite think he is at the make or break point yet.

      • jimfetterolf

        2012 was considered an important year for the Process, then Perez got hurt, then Duffy and Paulino, then Cain, then Getz got his concussion, and they finished with 72 wins and some were howling that the Process had failed. Then Moore traded for Shields and Davis, signed Santana, Perez played a full season, Dyson was a good replacement for the injured Cain, Lough/Maxwell solidified RF, Tejada/Bonifacio fixed 2nd, and the Royals won the expected mid-80s games.

        Few thought that a fluke and Moore got busy again with Glass writing the checks to take the next step. Now we have three special pitchers close and fixed two of three position problems plus one-third of the third problem, all that offsetting the loss of a 3.0fW pitcher, so a lot of us, likely including David Glass and Dayton Moore, are ready to play.

        I doubt I’m alone at predicting 90 wins as the mid-point of the expected range, given average health and luck. Can’t see a way that a shortfall will be blamed on management. They did their jobs, now it’s time for the kids to do theirs.

  • moretrouble

    The front office identified 2014 as the year they would compete for a division title. I guess there’s enough wiggle room there – but to me, anything less than making the playoffs would be a disappointment. The fact that they’re still kicking the tires of remaining FA pitchers tells me they’re not sure about their rotation. I don’t think Moore or Yost will lose their job if the team doesn’t finish in the money, but I doubt Glass will be happy about finishing third again with a higher payroll.

  • cardsfanatik

    Just trade for Peavy already and be done with it. Boston won’t want a king’s ransom, and he can be a #2 starter for another year or two. His option is not going to vest unless he pitches around 250 innings this year, and that’s not gonna happen. Rotation fixed. You can’t rely on Ventura or Duffy to go out every 5 days and pitch 6-7 innings. I’m sorry, While I am all for letting the young guys pitch, they are not # 2 starters AT THIS POINT in time. Will they be, probably, and have the opportunity to be #1′s, but they aren’t RIGHT NOW. And right now is what we need. I’m not as worried about the offense as I was, but if they could find a way to turn BB and LoCain into a power hitting RF, while moving Aoki to CF, I wouldn’t have a problem with that either.

    • moretrouble

      With all due respect Cardsfan, and you are a good baseball man, KC would be ill advised to move Aoki to CF. He may have trouble playing RF this year. KC needs superior outfield defense for their fly ball pitchers; their pitch to contact guys. True, Aoki is quick, but he’s going to have his work cut out for him to defend RF the way they require.

      Regarding Ventura and Duffy, they’re ready. The issue facing the front office is simply do they want to trust their playoff hopes on one young guy coming off surgery and the another being a rookie. That didn’t seem to be a problem in St. Louis last season where Michael Wacha was concerned. The issue of budget cap may be the deciding factor, but if they go with the youngsters, I think they’ll be fine. KC has an outstanding bullpen behind those guys.

      • cardsfanatik

        I am not really worried about how Duffy and Ventura will pitch Moretrouble, and I agree, they need to be given the shot, what scares me, is how LONG will they be able to pitch. If this team does somehow get to October, when do they run out of gas? Duffy, in all likelihood is going to throw around 145-150 innings, and probably the same for Ventura. I see what your saying about Wacha, however, Wacha didn’t pitch the whole year, he essentially took Shelby Millers spot, after the Cardinal’s felt that they had pitched Miller as much as they thought they needed to for the season, which fell a month short of finishing the season really. Are they prepared to get to October, just to lose, because all the guys are running on empty? Or are they prepared to replace either Duffy or Ventura with a Kyle Zimmer should we get to that point? I’m not disagreeing with you, I just see a need for a little concern over the course of the “entire” season, however long that may turn out to be.

        • cardsfanatik

          And I’m also not sure how Aoki would perform in CF either. Seems that he may be better suited for RF, I just meant that if they are still looking for that “power bat” that may be an option. At this point however, I am less concerned with the offense, than I am with the durability of the rotation. If they make no more offensive moves, I will not be disappointed. I believe BB will have a better year this year, and having Aoki and hopefully Infante instead of Escobar hitting in front of him, should give him many more opportunities to drive in runs also. If Moose can manage a .250/20/80, and if Hosmer comes back like he did the last half, Gordon and Perez will do their thing, the lineup looks promising actually.

          • moretrouble

            You make an excellent point about total innings for Duffy and Ventura. Some, like the Nationals, believe in caps; others don’t. It is a valid concern because if they want to cap those boys, they’ll have to decide that way early — before the trading deadline.

            Regarding offense, KC would be foolish to insist on more power from Cain. Cain has all kinds of issues anyway and letting him look to pull is a bad idea. This entire “power” concept is something of a red herring — they’ll hit their share of home runs away from Kauffman. When at home, their running style works well.

            But, you’re right, the deficiencies in the bottom of the order must be corrected. None of them have to hit .320; but, they must become tough outs: take pitches, run up counts, have better bat control, etc.

          • cardsfanatik

            I agree.