The KC Royals were 49-55 at the August 1 trade deadline. Most teams in such a situation would choose to sell off short-term assets, especially in a strong seller’s market. Instead, Dayton Moore stood pat. Will he regret it?
Both players have strong track records of playoff success and teams always need relievers at the trade deadline. Davis, especially, figured to command a significant haul due to his historic dominance over the last two-and-a-half years, and the one year remaining on his contract after the 2016 season. Given the haul that the New York Yankees got for rental closer Aroldis Chapman, Davis figured to fetch a higher price.
We don’t know if KC Royals general manager Dayton Moore would have pulled the trigger on a Wade Davis trade, but he certainly would have been tempted. The Los Angeles Dodgers made a significant deal with the Oakland A’s for RF Josh Reddick and OF Rich Hill, but would have considered an alternative deal that brought both Davis and starter Ian Kennedy from the Kansas City Royals.
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I have to think that Dayton Moore would almost have had to make the decision if he could have pried loose one of the Dodgers two prize pitching prospects in Julio Urias and Jorge De Leon. The KC Royals desperately need high-upside, young starting pitching.
Add three other prospects to shore up the Kansas City Royals thin farm system, and such a deal becomes almost too good to turn down.
Here we come to the key to understanding Dayton Moore’s deadline decision. I doubt he buys into the idea that the KC Royals have one more year to contend after the end of 2016. He comes from an Atlanta Braves organization that won 11 straight division titles. Moore wants to build a team that can contend for a decade.
Just because the current draft rules seem to make such a run unlikely, don’t expect Moore to give up this goal. Especially when he just won a title with the KC Royals that everyone told him was impossible.
So, yeah, he probably would have done the Dodgers trade had Wade Davis not gotten injured. It’s also probably why he did nothing at the trade deadline besides make a minor deal for Oakland CF Billy Burns in exchange for Brett Eibner.
See, with Hochevar and Davis out of the picture, Moore’s only viable trade assets were now designated hitter Kendrys Morales and starter Edinson Volquez. Both could probably have been moved if the Kansas City Royals were determined, but neither would have fetched the kind of major-league ready talent that would help in 2017 and 2018.
Instead, Dayton Moore preferred not to give up on 2016. Also, selling would have sent a very un-Royals-like message at the deadline. It would have told his core players that management had lost faith in them.
That’s not something the über-patient Moore and manager Ned Yost want to tell their club. A big reason why Ned’s players buy into what he’s selling is because they feel like he believes in them. If you consider such a move could have harmed the Kansas City Royals clubhouse culture while paired with a marginal return, I think Moore decided it just wasn’t worth it.
So, no, I doubt Dayton Moore will regret selling for a second. No matter how much criticism he gets as the KC Royals fall out of the race.