KC Royals general manager Dayton Moore is trying to do what most of his peers think can’t be done: rebuild without “tanking”.
Most of the Kansas City Royals front office cut their baseball teeth during Atlanta’s historic run of success from the early 90’s through the mid 2000’s. The Braves won 14 National League West division titles in 15 years, including 11 straight at one point.
Apparently, Dayton Moore believes he can replicate such consistent success despite rule changes that make the task more difficult. The biggest obstacle to an Atlanta-like run today is restrictions on draft bonuses and international spending that come with a strong regular season finish.
That reality forced even baseball super-executive Theo Epstein to “tank” soon after taking over the Chicago Cubs before the 2012 season. Epstein sold off most of his effective players at the major-league level to speed his rebuilding project. But, Moore is simply too competitive to entirely give up on any season now that he has built a successful core.
Moore tried to win while rebuilding his farm system soon after he took over the KC Royals. But, his attempt to win in 2009 blew up in his face. Now that he’s facing an exodus of six core players after the 2017 season, he still refuses to give up on making one last playoff run this season.
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The Philadelphia Phillies attempted to continue winning after their 2008 World Series title, but their front office kept their core together too long after their window closed in 2011. Rather than accept the need to rebuild, then Phillies GM Ruben Amaro attempted to win long after his horses should have been sent off to the glue factory. Instead, Amaro’s refusal to accept reality just extended the losing.
Today, the Phillies are trying to dig out from under the mistakes made earlier this decade. Are the Kansas City Royals headed for the same fate due to Moore’s insistence on trying for one last title run?