Doubling Up: A Letter to Dayton Moore

By Editorial Staff

Dear Mr. Moore,

My name is Gage Matthews and I am a baseball fan. Specifically, I’m a fan of your Kansas City Royals, but for this purpose, I am a baseball fan. Why do I say that? I’ll explain in a bit.

First, I want to say a couple thank you’s. Thank you for building a capable and inspiring minor league system. Without this farm system, you can surely believe that Royals fans would be dwindling even more than they already have. The farm system has given a fan base hope, even for those especially critical spirits out there.

I also want to thank you for giving us some more ideas of your plan, however few they are, and for playing the guys you describe as needing time in the majors. Of course, I’m talking about Kila Ka’aihue, Alex Gordon, and Mike Aviles. I really appreciated when you opened up about your plan to get both Alex and Kila some playing time toward the end of the 2010 season. It gave me hope that you’ll be more vocal with the Royals fan community.

Now, I know you get a lot of criticism. I’m as guilty as anyone. With improvements to your openness, that could change some, but for now the criticism is heaped on from all over the blogosphere and baseball media. Some of it is fair and some may be misdirected, but that’s not the point. The point is that you’ve been the focus of a lot of questions about the direction of the Royals. I want to add one big question to that list.

Why do you insist on acquiring more players than are necessary?

I said I am a baseball fan because this has been a disturbing trend from a wider baseball perspective. The addition of Mike Jacobs to a roster that could have had Billy Butler and Kila starting at designated hitter and first base was a big mystery. Ryan Shealy was still around, and it was apparent to most everyone that first base was a crowded position within the organization. So, instead of letting those guys play, you acquired a player without any true upside and whose lack of abilities hurt the team more than helping. Why acquire such a player at that point?

Last offseason, you signed both Rick Ankiel and Scott Podsednik, even though the Royals didn’t have room for so many outfielders. Rick Ankiel mustered a grand total of 27 games with the Royals before he was somehow traded to Atlanta. Scott Podsednik had a decent year, and it seems that just signing one of these two would’ve been plenty. Instead, the outfield that included Mitch Maier, David DeJesus, and occasionally Jose Guillen and Willie Bloomquist became more crowded for no apparent reason. There was a general outcry of “Why?” when we heard of the Rick Ankiel contract after you had already signed both Podsednik and Brian Anderson. You later said you signed Ankiel with the intention of trading him midseason, but the actual value of the trade was Kyle Farnsworth. Expecting Ankiel to have great value was a clear misread of his ability. So, with that in mind, why acquire so many outfielders at such a point?

This year, such an event has happened twice. After Bloomquist was traded, it was clear the Royals would need a utility player. Now, it seems that promoting from within the organization would be the cheapest and easiest way to accomplish this. Ed Lucas was having a great year with Omaha and would make a low-cost, low-risk solution for 2011. Instead, Lucas was let go and you acquired both Joaquin Arias and Lance Zawadzki, two young utility-type players. Obviously, one will start in Kansas City and one in Omaha (I would guess), but why both? Why not just keep Lucas and promote from within? I never heard a logical explanation for this and would love to have it explained if possible.

Just a short time later, you’ve been able to sign both Jeff Francoeur and Melky Cabrera. I’ll be open and say that I like neither of these two as a ballplayer. They haven’t shown they have the skills to be major league starters (maybe one won’t be?) and even with any benefits for the clubhouse, it’s unclear why spending $4 million on such players would be an overall gain. Not only that, but with Alex Gordon, Mitch Maier, Gregor Blanco, and Jarrod Dyson spending time in the outfield to end the season, not to mention David Lough being nearly ready to reach Kansas City, it seems to be an odd decision to sign two players whose production is arguably no better than in-house options. Signing one to play right field after the departure of DeJesus would be acceptable, but signing two is strange. Sure, I will likely learn of your master plan soon when Francoeur’s and Cabrera’s physicals are completed and two players must be removed from the 40-man roster, but until then it seems a bizarre decision. I highly doubt you can expect to trade either of these two for much, prospect-wise, in the middle of the season, but you may have information that I don’t. This is why you must enlighten the fan base.

Why sign multiple players when there is one position open? This is a mystery that I cannot solve no matter how much thought I give it, so please inform the general public of some part of your grand scheme. The four players that you have acquired outside of the DeJesus trade this offseason will almost assuredly have little-to-no trade value come July, so why acquire them or spend to sign them?

I bid you good luck with the Zack Greinke trade and hope you find quality players that don’t overlap with the current players in a negative way. Please bring us something to be hopeful about.

Thanks for your time.

Gage Matthews