Reports have indicated that new Kansas City Royals owner John Sherman will extend Dayton Moore shortly after he takes over but is that the right move?
I believe that Dayton Moore can be a good general manager. Taking a team owned by David Glass and winning two pennants plus a World Series is an incredible feat. And beyond the analysis and judgments it takes to decide which players to choose and invest in, Moore has shown himself to be a very decent man when it comes to dealing with the human side of the business. It is very possible that with a different general manager neither Danny Duffy nor Zack Greinke would have become what they are today.
Taking over the Royals general manager position when the franchise was at rock bottom can be seen as a daring move for a young general manager. But it can also be construed as a savvy move. His first three seasons as a general manager resulted in 277 losses and almost no one even batted an eye.
After compiling 276 losses over the next three seasons, there were the beginnings of rumbles about Dayton’s ability to turn around the Royals. But in 2013, Moore’s Royals would begin a three-year span where they won 270 games. Not included in that number of regular-season winning games is another 23 playoff wins. That is as good a three-year run as you could ever ask from any general manager. Even when the Royals are, inevitably, back on top we may never have a better run than that. Full stop.
Dayton has shown the ability to identify talent in unexpected areas like the Rule 5 draft with Brad Keller. He has been able to identify underrated talent to trade for such as Lorenzo Cain. And some of his veteran acquisitions, like Homer Bailey this season, are truly impressive. He has also shown the courage to make bold moves. The Zack Greinke trade was gutsy but was a necessary baseball move. The James Shields trade was courageous and admirable.
By all accounts Dayton Moore is a well-respected leader both in the franchise and in baseball. But Major League Baseball is a tough business, that is why he makes so much money. And the celebrations of 2015 are long over. Flags may fly forever, but they do not make repetitive 100 loss seasons any less humiliating. And they also do not make them any more acceptable.
Make no mistake, the Royals are a 103-loss season in 2020 away from being right back to the rock bottom where Dayton Moore found us. Now, this has not happened yet. But we have just endured the worst three-year span of the Dayton Moore era. And our current prospects of substantial improvement for next year, absent some major moves, seem dubious, at best.
Dayton can change this narrative. He can make wise choices this offseason and fill some holes in pitching, maybe a bat or two, and get us back on the right track. But it is not going to be fixed by adding another of his patented scrappy infielders that no one else wants or super-fast outfielders that would be lucky to get on base in a slow pitch softball game. It is certainly not going to be corrected by once again welcoming the annual return of Lucas Duda. More bold moves are necessary now.
Much of the credit of the World Series run must be given to Dayton Moore. But then so does the blame for all these losses. And before deciding to give Dayton Moore a big extension for all his hard work he should demonstrate that we are actually heading back in the right direction. And we are correct to remain skeptical until we see some convincing evidence.