Below are some of the questions that Dayton Moore was asked at his year end press conference, and while you can go back and hear his answers, I thought I’d give a few comments on what was asked or answered by him.
Why didn’t the team perform to the level of what they had expected?
I can’t say that the team underperformed myself. In the case of the offense, the team received better production from Eric Hosmer, Sal Perez and Whit Merrifield than they’ve gotten out of those positions in the past. Ultimately the return they got from Ian Kennedy and Kelvin Herrera was the most disappointing and impacted this season, but based off how this team had performed in 2016, the results of 80-82 are more realistic than what some of us should’ve expected.
In hindsight, do you regret not doing a ““fire sale” at the time of the trade deadline?
I believe everyone on the site has gone over this one again and again, but it should still be noted that based on what the market was returning for players, the way GMDM played the deadline looks correct. The only way to me this could be proved incorrect is if the Royals decide NOT to offer one of Hosmer, Moustakas or Cain a qualifying offer. Then they have missed out on the possible draft return this next draft, the return they could’ve got at the deadline and missed the playoffs all in the same shot.
In addition, GMDM talked about how after the 2015 season was the “best time” to trade these players. While that is true, if a team wants to maximize return, after a championship would always be the time, but in addition, the deadline for the ’16 season could’ve also been a great time. Looking back on that though, they just didn’t have much opportunity, Moustakas, Davis, and Cain were all hurt or dealing with nagging injuries in the case of Cain, leaving Hosmer as the only possibility. We now know that the Royals were and are likely still looking to try to ink a long-term deal with Hos prior to last season and likely heading into this season. With that knowledge, it’s possibly not realistic to think GMDM would have entertained a deal for him.
Can you compare the challenge that you face now compared to when you took over this team?
I believe GMDM hit the nail on the head with this one by the things he said here, but it must be said how well this group has changed the culture. Stories floated around quite often of how little the Royals were willing to spend on the little things for scouts, players, etc. This is not the case anymore from what I see bouncing around at different affiliate spots. Players have the data, video and coaching that they need to succeed at the lower levels. Minor league parks have the data systems set up to get the analytics crew the things they need and coaches are filtered that data to place players in the correct positions. Could things be better? Yes, they can always be better. Could the organization be deeper? Yes, but there is a flag out there flying that led to some of that dearth of prospects at the upper levels, and I believe they’re much deeper at the lower levels that when Dayton took over. Possibly the best thing that Dayton has done since his arrival is getting a full buy-in from the Glass family. He asked for it before he took the job and GMDM with the help of the fans and players have rewarded the family for opening up their wallets.
Is there anyone you’re excited about?
While prefacing Mondesi’s name with free agency and Jorge Soler’s with the power potential that everyone knows he has, I thought the most interesting thing Dayton said about a player was what he said about Bonifacio.
“I think Jorge Bonifacio has a chance to be a .300 hitter in this league. I don’t know if he’s Moises Alou but you know there are some similarities there in the way he approaches the game, his leadership and what he could turn into.”
For those of us who watched Alou, that seems like an odd comparison. Bodywise, the players don’t seem that similar and Alou’s prospect pedigree was much higher than Boni’s. That said, if GMDM vision is an offense first corner outfielder who is below average defensively, then Bonifacio could be that guy. I doubt Boni can reach Alou’s highs which include a pair of third-place finishes in the MVP race and another season in which he topped a 1.000 OPS while being a much better than average hitter throughout his career. Should Jorge become 90 percent of the player Alou was in his career, the Royals would have developed a solid contributor in the outfield.
The comments on the Atlanta Braves vacancy.
Dayton’s comments left some opening to him leaving in my opinion. “It’s really unprofessional to comment on a vacancy or potential vacancy of another organization. No one has presented that to me. I can’t think of another place that would be better to work than for the Glass family. I adore the Glass family. We’re focused on what we do here in Kansas City.”
He also commented that he gets the connection there. Still, the comment doesn’t equivocally say he isn’t interested. As many nice things as he says about the Glass family, it’s no secret that his mentor John Schuerholz helped him make the decision to come to Kansas City. The ties run deep for GMDM to that organization and Schuerholz, and until the Braves hire someone other than Dayton, I doubt the rumors will go away anytime soon.
The front office staff visiting King Center
This is truly special and is just another reason that no matter what the Royals record is or the score on the board was that day, fans should recognize the type of leader they have in Dayton Moore. The GM said that this isn’t in reference to the current sports world that we live in as far as the NFL controversy but was something that he wanted the staff to experience after he visited last year. Whether that’s the full reason or it is an actual response to the NFL story, it shows tremendous leadership on his part to get the staff involved in learning more about King’s history of nonviolent social change. The Royals, with their history with the Royals Academy, the Negro League museum and the deep history of African American players that have contributed are a leader in baseball in understanding those players history and recognizing their contribution. It’s an honor to know that the current general manager knows that and is constantly looking to make it something that he and the organization continue to cultivate.