KC Royals general manager Dayton Moore absorbed years of abuse from baseball pundits across America before his team won the American League pennant in 2014. He has followed up Kansas City’s league title with what now appears to be a series of brilliant acquisitions through the first six weeks of the 2015 season.
The list is truly amazing: [table id=21 /]
I know that the Kansas City Royals still have 126 games remaining. But, that list of successes is insane for one off-season. Dayton Moore landed two solid starting position players, one (or two) starting pitchers depending on if you expect Chris Young to continue in the rotation, and three shut-down relievers.
It’s no accident that the KC Royals stand 10 games over .500 at 23-13.
So far, every 2015 free-agent on the roster has performed well through the first 36 games of the season. That’s not even counting Moore’s decision to bring back relievers Jason Frasor (1-0, 0.79 ERA) and Luke Hochevar (0-0, 6.00 ERA in only 3 innings, but he’s shown nasty stuff).
Right now, all of those decisions look really good.
If former Atlanta ace Kris Medlen, who is still rehabbing from his second Tommy John surgery, performs anywhere close to his former level, then Moore will have landed an insanely successful off-season haul.
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It isn’t as if Moore threw a lot of money at the top guys available this winter. Most of the KC Royals signings came at moderate prices and all are short-term contracts that carry little risk.
Overall, the Kansas City Royals spent $51.875 over the next two seasons for the above seven players. The figure goes to $60.375 if you include Kris Medlen’s deal (estimates compiled from data available at Cot’s Baseball Contracts).
I know that’s hardly pocket change, but it’s a bargain at today’s prices. Consider that the KC Royals would have had to spend $105 million to bring back both James Shields and Billy Butler (Shields 4-years, $75 million, Butler 3-years, $30 million).
Pundits across baseball thought little of Dayton Moore’s off-season. Ben Lindbergh of Grantland.com best captured the prevailing wisdom by calling it “underwhelming“. The Steamer projection system estimated that the trio of Volquez, Rios, and Kendrys Morales would be worth no more than 1.5 Wins Above Replacement (WAR) this season.
Through 36 games, Fangraphs.com already has the three worth a combined 1.6 fWAR—and Rios has missed 29 games after breaking his hand week one.
Moore’s sudden transformation into a brilliant general manager is probably more shocking than if MENSA invited Kim Kardashian to join their geniuses-only club.
I can’t help but wonder if the same guy that willingly traded for Yunieski Betancourt, and signed Jeff Francoeur to a contract-extension, really had a great eye for free-agent bargains all along, but was limited by players not wanting to join a losing franchise.
Maybe, the big difference this off-season was that Moore had no trouble persuading the guys he really wanted to come to Kansas City. After all, Dayton Moore’s team made playing for the Royals look like a barrel of fun during the 2014 playoffs.
If that’s the reason, or if the stars have finally aligned for the Kansas City Royals, doesn’t really matter.
Kansas City Royals fans just need to enjoy it.