KC Royals general manager Dayton Moore broke nine seasons of relative trade deadline inactivity to acquire ace starter Johnny Cueto from the Cincinnati Reds, and super-utility player Ben Zobrist from the Oakland A’s, last July. Could the Kansas City Royals have won the World Series without those deals?
Please do not construe this question as implied criticism of Dayton Moore. The KC Royals won the World Series for the first time in 30 years. He doesn’t have ANYTHING (baseball related) to apologize for in 2015, and probably for his entire 10-year tenure.
Yet, I still see it as a valid question. At the time that Dayton Moore dealt five minor-league pitchers for Johnny Cueto and Ben Zobrist, the Kansas City Royals had the best record in the American League and a seven-and-a-half game lead over Minnesota in the AL Central.
Of course, the KC Royals had lost Alex Gordon for what was expected to be two months with a severe groin muscle tear. Young rotation guns Yordano Ventura and Danny Duffy had failed to give the team a staff ace (as many hoped before the season). Cueto and Zobrist promised to be clear upgrades at the time Moore made those deals.
Add in the fact that Moore had a team that had proven their ability to win in the post-season the year before, I can completely see the logic in loading up for bear while you had a team that you knew could win it all.
Next: The Royals Didn't Need Cueto And Zobrist To Win Central