Jul 182013

by John Viril—

Kansas City GM Dayton Moore knows that his time is short.

You can see it in every move he makes and in everything he says.

If Dayton Moore does not win soon, he’s going to be out of a job. That’s the only way to make sense of Moore’s latest roster moves and comments. Today, Moore sent 2B Johnny Giavotella and P Everett Teaford back to AAA, and recalled 2B Chris Getz and P Kelvin Herrera. Meanwhile, recent waiver claim Pedro Ciriaco cleared waivers and was outrighted to Omaha. While rotating Teaford back to Omaha in favor of Herrera should not surprise anyone, pulling the plug on Giavotella after 38 ABs in favor of Getz smells like desperation.

Manager Ned Yost told mlb.com, “We’ve got to go — it’s time to go, so we’ve got to make sure we’ve got as many hot guys in that lineup as we can get in there.”

If you’re looking for an offensive boost from a guy with a career .623 OPS, then you really are grasping at straws.

While Giavotella has struggled in his 414 career at bats (.606 OPS), his strong minor league track record at least holds some hope that he might “get it” at the major league level. With Getz, at best, you’re hoping to catch a hot streak that might give you a week or two of solid production. Getz’s 1466 MLB plate appearances pretty much tell you what you can expect.

In Yost’s defense, he is correct. The Royals need to “go”  if they expect to contend this season. The team is almost out of time to make a drive for the playoffs. At 43-49, there are exactly 70 games left in the season. The Royals will have to finish 47-23 (.671) to win a mere 90 games—which would still only give them an uncertain shot at the post-season.

And, yet, Dayton Moore is fully committed to grasping at that chance (which ESPN estimates at 4.9%, while Baseball Prospectus puts it at an even more hopeless 0.7%). Moore told FoxsportsKansasCity.com, “Our philosophy isn’t going to change just because we’re six games under. “We’re not going to back off.”

While Dayton Moore did not rule out trading impending free agent Ervin Santana (or any other short-term contract such as Miguel Tejada or Bruce Chen), he specified that the move has to “help now”. That means Moore has excluded deals that would likely yield the most long-term value—MLB players for prospects. You know, exactly the kind of deals that Billy Beane used in Oakland when he traded off starting pitchers Trevor Cahill and Gio Gonzalez for young players like Jarrod Parker and Tommy Milone. Those moves, I might add, fueled Oakland’s surprising A.L. West title last season and their first place standing today.

Moore also told the Kansas City Star, “When I came here in 2006, I told everybody this: you ask anybody in baseball, whether fans want to believe it or not, unless we’re going to be a big-market club and go out and spend on multiple free-agents per year, it’s an eight to ten year process to get this thing to the position where you’re competing for the playoffs.”

Wow. Just wow. As Jeff Parker pointed out at KingsofKauffman.com, the A’s, Orioles, Nationals, and Pirates were comparably bad franchises in 2009 and all have competed for (or made) the playoffs since that time. But hey, it used to be a 7-year process (measured from John Schuerholz’s takeover in Atlanta until the Braves made the playoffs), which then became an 8-year process, and now will require as much as 10.

If Dayton Moore manages to get 10 years as GM without making the playoffs, I suppose we should give him baseball’s Rasputin Award for keeping his job. But, I suspect, the franchise will be no better off than Russia in 1917.

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 Posted by at 11:55 pm

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