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.