by John Viril—
If the Kansas City Royals are going to make a run, the next three weeks will tell the tale.
The Royals are now entering a stretch where they will play 15 of their next 19 games against teams with losing records. At the end of that run, they then face the Detroit Tigers for a massive 5-game road series that ends August 18.
If the Royals aren’t in contention on that day, you might as well pack it in for the season.
The just-completed home stand is an encouraging sign. The Royals finished 5-2 against two playoff contenders in Detroit and Baltimore. They have also just finished a 20-game stretch against over .500 teams. Kansas City survived by going 10-10. In retrospect, that’s quite a respectable showing for 6 consecutive series against contenders.
With the pressure mounting against general manager Dayton Moore, the team has critical decisions to make over the next five days before the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline. Do they buy? Do they sell? Do they both buy and sell? If the Royals decide to sell off assets, they could put themselves in the driver seat for deadline deals. If they put starter Ervin Santana and closer Greg Holland up for bid, they’d have the two biggest trade chips on the market. By packaging Santana and Holland, they could give a contender the weapons needed to both make the post-season and win in the playoffs.
Balancing the chances of winning this season vs. the haul they could obtain for 2014 is Dayton Moore’s big chance to show his bones as a GM. If he either makes the playoffs this season or successfully loads up for a deep run in 2014, then Moore will quiet the critics calling for his head in KC. However, if his team collapses during the stretch this year, the Moore regime is likely to come to an abrupt end.