It turns out they do want to talk to Dayton Moore in Atlanta.
News broke at the end of last week the Royals were approached by the Braves, asking for permission to interview Moore for the GM position in Atlanta.
We’re not even a full month into the offseason and things just got exponentially more complicated in Kansas City.
There’s very little about this situation that is public knowledge. What we do know is that Moore signed an extension with the Royals in February of 2016. Terms were undisclosed (we have no idea how long he’s under contract or how much money he’s making), but apparently the new deal included a provision that ownership must give permission for Moore to interview for another job.
Permission was asked and the Royals declined the Braves’ request.
Now that this is in the public domain, there are a couple of ways the next few weeks play out for all parties involved in this dance.
The first scenario has Moore not wanting to return to Atlanta. David Glass knows this and played the role of bad cop, standing in front of the Braves’ request so Moore doesn’t look like he’s dismissing any opportunities before he has the chance to talk to a new prospective employer. Easy, simple, clean. Done.
For all of Moore’s ties to Atlanta, it does make a little bit of sense. The Braves are in a serious state of inertia. Pending an investigation from Major League Baseball, they stand to face some serious penalties due to allegedly breaking the rules while John Coppolella was the general manager. What “rules” exactly were broken is anyone’s guess. Although since international scouting supervisor Gordon Blakeley was sent packing at the same time, and through the usual rumor mills, we can speculate that they have to do with some of their moves on the international market. That both were forced out at the same time and some in the know stated that Coppolella will never work in baseball again, you can imagine how serious and deep these violations are.
Pending the outcome of an investigation conducted by major league baseball, speculation has the Braves facing serious fines, limitations on future international free agent signings, and possibly the loss of young international prospects who were signed in a scrupulous manner. It’s difficult to move forward in the offseason when these potential penalties are hanging over the franchise. They don’t know if they are going to face future restrictions or a loss of current players, or both.
Along with the investigation, you have the current Braves hierarchy which has John Hart as president of baseball operations. As many have stated, it’s difficult to see Moore take the job in Atlanta if Hart is in that role. It would represent a sort of demotion for Moore, who has full autonomy in Kansas City. It’s possible Hart could step down or could shift roles in the front office. It’s also possible he could get swept up in the investigation. (Think how much did he know and when did he know it.) That only underscores how paralyzed the Braves front office is at this moment.
Maybe Moore doesn’t want any part of what’s happening in Atlanta.
The flip side is the farm system is well ahead of the Royals and is flush with talent. The rebuilding process in Atlanta will presumably be much shorter than the one facing Moore in Kansas City. Does Moore want to go through another set of lean baseball years with the Royals, or does he make the move, knowing his legacy in Kansas City is secure?
The second scenario is a little more complicated. In that situation, you have the Royals coming from a position of power. It’s their general manager under contract. They are in a position to block any move, but maybe, just maybe, they’d be willing to negotiate. As noted, the Braves system is stocked, so what better way to accelerate a rebuilding process than to get a prospect or two in exchange for a front office executive.
Let’s face it, Moore is an ideal target for Atlanta. He has history there, has a track record of a successful rebuild and has the image of a by-the-rule-book player. That’s something the Braves could use as they dig out from their current situation. That could also signal they’re desperate to clean up the mess made by Copolella and his regime and willing to deal.
The Moore To Atlanta connection was a natural one the moment Copolella resigned. However, by now requesting permission to interview Moore, the Braves problems have now spilled over and into Kansas City. It’s difficult to formulate a comprehensive plan for the offseason – which is the most important winter Kansas City has faced for at least five years – if the future of the architect of that plan is uncertain. Plus, uncertainty at the top trickles down through the entire organization. It’s natural. People start wondering about their own future. Inertia creeps.
How does this get resolved? It’s the Royals and Dayton Moore, so you can bet there won’t be any leaks on their end. The guess here is that the loyalty Moore has to Glass and to the people he’s brought to the organization outweigh any enticement he would feel toward Atlanta. The Royals could wrangle a fee of sort from the Braves even to allow Moore to interview, but it’s easy to see Moore remaining in Kansas City, a community he has embraced as much as it’s embraced him.
However, the Braves desperately need someone to clean up the mess left by the previous regime. Moore is the perfect candidate to get them back on the rails. Never underestimate the actions of a desperate organization.
What a mess.