KC Royals: Dayton Moore At Career Crossroads

Nov 3, 2015; Kansas City, MO, USA; Kansas City Royals general manager Dayton Moore waves to fans at the World Series parade. Mandatory Credit: John Rieger-USA TODAY Sports
Nov 3, 2015; Kansas City, MO, USA; Kansas City Royals general manager Dayton Moore waves to fans at the World Series parade. Mandatory Credit: John Rieger-USA TODAY Sports /

KC Royals general manager Dayton Moore has already achieved what seemed impossible when he took the job in 2006: bring a championship to Kansas City. The next few years will determine if he can succeed over the long-term in KC.

Dayton Moore is already assured of a plaque in the Kansas City Royals Hall-Of-Fame. By guiding the team to their second championship he’s already achieved the Holy Grail of sports management. But, an even harder task is to win on a consistent basis in a small market. If Moore can do that, he just might earn a spot in Cooperstown as one of the best executives in the history of the game.

Moore will confront the real challenge after the 2017 season. At that point, much of his current core will hit free agency and reality is that he won’t be able to sign them all. Thus, Moore will have to make smart decisions to avoid a long term crash back to mediocrity. Already the skeptics doubt that Moore can pull it off. For example the New York Post has already proclaimed that the KC Royals two-year fairy tale has ended.

The first big choice Moore will face in trying to build a consistent winner will come at the August 1 trading deadline. He has to either decide to pursue a slim chance to make the playoffs in 2016, or sell off short-term assets to increase the KC Royals chances in 2017. Moore could also trade closer Wade Davis in a very favorable seller’s market. Such a move could not only help the Kansas City Royals in 2017, but also help restock a farm system depleted by last season’s deadline deals that brought ace Johnny Cueto and second baseman Ben Zobrist to Kansas City. 

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No one really knows what Dayton Moore will do. Heck, Moore himself probably does not know, because his decisions will depend, in part, over how his team plays over the next four and a half days. Moore also can’t force trade suitors to give up the kind of talent that will convince him that selling off is in the best interest of the team.

Buster Olney at ESPN.com thnks Moore will stand pat. He reminded his readers how the KC Royals went all out in the last week of the 2006 season to sweep the Detroit Tigers, despite being in position for the no. 1 overall pick next season’s June draft. The late Kansas City Royals surge allowed the Tampa Bay Rays to slide into the no. 1 overall pick, which they converted into talented ace David Price.

Moore told Olney on Tuesday evening that he: 1) doesn’t regret sweeping the Tigers in the final week of 2006 (of course his consolation prize was taking Mike Moustakas no. 2 overall in 2007), 2) that he never bought into the idea that a team should tank, and 3) believes it’s important to compete the best you can, when you can.

On the other hand, Kansas City Royals players are trying to prepare themselves against possible roster changes as the trade deadline approaches. With the team sliding three games under .500 at 48-51 due to a four-game losing streak, other teams are beginning to make offers for the Royals short term assets.

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Sooner or later, some significant changes are coming for the Kansas City Royals. The current rotation simply isn’t getting it done and needs strengthening before the 2017 season. Beyond that looms the impending free-agency of franchise stalwarts Eric Hosmer, Mike Moustakas, Lorenzo Cain, Danny Duffy, Wade Davis, Jarrod Dyson, and Alcides Escobar.  If Dayton Moore can both 1) improve the rotation for 2017, and 2) add prospects to help beyond 2017, he’s going to have to give up the slim chance of another KC Royals miracle down the stretch.