KC Royals Midweek Musings: Keeping Dayton Moore?
KC Royals general manager Dayton Moore is in the last year of his contract. Will the club bring him back? Will one of his top assistants leave?
Some KC Royals Midweek Musings while wondering who among the many former Royals playing October baseball will help their team the most:
Front office questions. The Royals just completed their 14th full season under the command of general manager Dayton Moore, the John Schuerholz disciple the club lured away from the Atlanta Braves midway through the 2006 campaign. Moore’s famous “process” finally paid off with his first winning season in 2013, a pennant and trip to the World Series in 2014, and the franchise’s second World Series title in 2015.
But with the end of this season came questions about Moore’s Kansas City future. This is reportedly the final year of Moore’s contract; the Royals rarely disclose terms of executive deals, so his compensation and final day under contract are unknown. Moore remains at work as of this writing, but new owner/CEO John Sherman has yet to announce what lies ahead for his GM.
What makes the situation more interesting than usual is that Sherman apparently didn’t extend Moore when he took control of the franchise last year and hasn’t publicly addressed his current status. It could be, of course, that Sherman already gave Moore a new contract, but it seems unlikely given the club’s silence.
Opinions vary about Moore. His detractors cite his 12 losing seasons and the Royals’ rapid decline since winning the World Series five years ago. Moore proponents tend to point out he inherited a miserable team everyone knew wouldn’t win for several years, rebuilt the farm system, won two pennants in a row and brought the World Championship back to town.
Sherman firing Moore would be shocking—the KC Royals are on the cusp of winning again and Moore is at work, already talking about some of his plans to improve the team.
One of Moore’s top lieutenants, however, could be on the move. J.J. Picollo, a club vice president and assistant general manager (player personnel), was linked recently to the vacant Philadelphia GM job; he interviewed unsuccessfully for the same position in 2015. Picollo works closely with Moore and was the primary source this season of public information concerning the Royals’ alternate training site.
Former Royals playing overseas. Japan’s pandemic-delayed major league season doesn’t end until early November and two Kansas City alums are having good offensive campaigns. Nori Aoki has 17 home runs, 44 RBIs and a .310 average in 82 games, while Alcides Escobar has a homer and is batting .279 in 79 contests.
As we’ve mentioned previously, pitcher Aaron Brooks left the Korean Baseball Organization’s Kia Tigers a few weeks ago to be with family members in the United States after they sustained injuries in a vehicle crash. He hasn’t returned to the Tigers and was 11-4 with a 2.50 ERA when he left.
Ex-Royals player, coach seems secure. While 2020’s short 60-game season may not provide sufficient basis for clubs to fire managers—the axe hasn’t fallen on any and the only open job is Detroit’s after Ron Gardenhire retired (Kansas City coaches Pedro Grifol and Vance Wilson have been associated with the position)—that isn’t necessarily so for coaches, whose job security doesn’t always depend on their managers’.
At least one former Royal’s coaching job seems quite secure—look for Kevin Seitzer to return as Atlanta’s hitting coach next season. Seitzer, who became the Braves’ batting guru in 2014 after stops in Arizona, Kansas City and Toronto, effectively mentored the National League East champions to several top spots among the league’s offensive categories.
The Braves finished the 2020 regular season first in hits, doubles, OBP, and OPS, tied the Dodgers for best slugging percentage, and finished second in batting average and home runs.
Seitzer, of course, was quite a hitter himself. His .295 career average includes .294 in six seasons with the Royals. He led the American League with 207 hits in 1987, his official rookie season, and hit over .300 several times.
That’s it for now. We’ll be back next week with more KC Royals Midweek Musings. Until then, stay safe and healthy.