With the Kansas City Royals and their fanbase enduring yet another disappointing season, there has been a great deal of attention and discussion regarding the current state and the future of the team’s upper management, specifically General Manager Dayton Moore (aka GMDM).
In the issue of full disclosure from the outset, I do not feel it is quite time for Royals’ owner David Glass to terminate Moore’s employment with the team, though I would definitely understand such a move.
Evaluating and assessing the job Moore has done in his tenure with the Royals can be a difficult task, but one I would like to take on at this critical juncture in the team’s development.
I view the role of the GM as having two primary job functions: acquiring players and negotiating appropriate contracts for them.
Certainly, the primary job of the GM is to evaluate and acquire talent (via draft, trades and free agency) and put the manager in the best position to win with those players. I believe we can evaluate Moore or any GM based on the talent they add to the roster and in the organization.
There is little debate that the Royals have had one of the strongest minor league systems in all of baseball since Moore took over as GM in 2006. The scouting department and GMDM have done an outstanding job identifying and drafting top-notch prospects, particularly in terms of position players.
Eric Hosmer, Mike Moustakas and Wil Myers appear to be the heart of the Kansas City lineup for several years.
While the success rate with Royals’ pitching prospects has been much less impressive, I think most will agree that Moore has done his job well in terms of the June amateur draft.
In terms of trades, there really have not been many of note since Moore took his position with the team. Trades in Major League Baseball in recent years generally take the form of one team giving up an established big league player for several prospects.
In light of the fact that the Royals have had very few impact players at the Major League level, it has been difficult for Moore to make many significant deals to bolster the Royals’ minor league system—with one notable exception.
The deal that Moore made in sending disgruntled pitcher Zack Greinke to Milwaukee for several potential stars may wind up being one of the best in the history of the Royals franchise.
Moore dealt Greinke and Yuniesky Betancourt for SS Alcides Escobar, CF Lorenzo Cain and pitchers Jake Odorizzi and Jeremy Jeffress. Greinke is no longer with Milwaukee, and the Royals are seeing phenomenal returns from the deal.
Escobar appears to be a potential All-Star, Cain is performing well in an everyday role in center field and Odorizzi remains the club’s top pitching prospect.
Some fans would like to see Moore move some of the younger talent for a couple established big league starting pitchers. I would have no problem with doing so, but quality starting pitching comes at a great premium in today’s game and at a price ownership has, so far, been reluctant to pay.
In terms of free agent signings, Moore has been less than impressive, but I am not certain that’s entirely on him. In my eyes, GMDM has been handcuffed by ownership in terms of the budget he is able to allocate to acquire free agents.
Additionally, a team like the Royals in a city like Kansas City will generally have to offer free agents significantly more than established winners in bigger cities. In other words, they have to pay above the “going rate,” as evidenced by the Gil Meche signing in the 2006-2007 offseason.
The free agent deals Moore has made have all been team-friendly contracts and have gotten at least some production from several of those players.
The other aspect of the GM’s job is to sign players to contracts commensurate with their value as major league players.
While long-term deals for Eric Hosmer and Mike Moustakas need to be addressed soon, the Royals have several key players under team control at very reasonable salaries, namely LF Alex Gordon, DH Billy Butler, SS Alcides Escobar and C Salvador Perez.
Dayton Moore will never go down in baseball lore as the greatest GM of all-time. He may not even be one of the best in the game at this point in time. However, he has done a lot in providing a foundation for the Royals future. Unfortunately, the process is not generating victories on the field, and this is a results-based world.
Mr. Glass could keep GMDM or fire him; I would understand either way.
Thank you for reading, and be sure to follow Mark on Twitter @EbbyCalvin37.