Kansas City Royals Dayton Moore Executive Of The Year Candidate

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Jun 4, 2015; Kansas City, MO, USA; Kansas City Royals general manager Dayton Moore watches batting practice before the game against the Cleveland Indians at Kauffman Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

Kansas City Royals general manager Dayton Moore is an Executive Of The Year Candidate according to Joel Sherman of the New York Post. Sherman cited Jon Daniels of Texas, Toronto’s Alex Anthopolous, and Pittsburgh’s Neal Huntington as possible competitors.

Of the four, I have to think Moore is the front-runner. The Executive Of The Year Award is voted upon BEFORE the playoffs, so only the regular season counts. However, I believe it is hard to remove the influence of last year’s post season from voters’ minds. Given that the KC Royals 2014 World Series run, combined with winning their first ever Central Division Title, changed the image of the franchise, Dayton Moore’s candidacy should receive a significant boost over his peers.

Not that Dayton Moore’s 2015 performance isn’t deserving on its own merits. Moore made a series of heavily criticized moves that have, instead, helped his team succeed.

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Baseball analysts largely panned Dayton Moore’s major off-season moves which included signing Edinson Volquez to replace James Shields, Alex Rios in right field rather than bringing back Nori Aoki, and letting Billy Butler walk in favor of Kendrys Morales.

Kendrys Morales has become a Comeback Player of the Year candidate hitting .292/.358/.485 with 21 home runs and 105 RBIs, far exceeding Billy Butler’s production with Oakland for far less money (Butler received a two-year, $30 million deal, while Moore signed Morales to a two-year, $17 million contract). Morales has been a screaming bargain, and has to rank as one of last winter’s best bang-for-the-buck free agent signings.

Edinson Volquez has indeed been a solid replacement for James Shields, posting a 13-9 record with a 3.65 ERA and a 6.9 K/9 in 192.2 innings pitched. Note that Shields has a worse ERA in the National League (where pitchers hit) at 3.91 and has logged a mere 10 innings more than Volquez.

The only major move that seemed to backfire on Moore was the Alex Rios deal. Rios wallowed through the first half of the season with a horrid .238/.266/.288 triple slash as well as missing most of April and May with a broken pinky finger. However, Alex Rios rebounded with a solid second half, slashing .286/.317/.429 for an adjusted on base plus slugging (OPS+) of 102 (2 percent better than league average).

 Finally healthy, Rios has excelled in September with a .327/.328/.524 finishing kick.

Next: Moore's Bargain Moves