Tag:Dayton Moore
Posted on: June 6, 2011 9:31 pm
Edited on: June 6, 2011 9:46 pm
 

GM Moore: Royals will keep home-grown talent

KANSAS CITY -- If Bubba Starling, the Royals' first-round pick in Monday's draft, follows the same path as Eric Hosmer, Alex Gordon (this year's model), Billy Butler, Luke Hochevar, Aaron Crow and even Mike Moustakas, an already rich farm system will become even more fertile.

But if Starling and some of those other guys follow the path of Johnny Damon, Carlos Beltran and Jermaine Dye as short timers in Kansas City, then might this Royal praise be fool's gold?

Mixed in among the 25 consecutive seasons without a playoff appearance was one significant recent false start, in 2003. The Royals that year had their only winning season in the past 16, and Tony Pena was named American League manager of the year. Beltran, at 26, was the center fielder.

By the middle of '04, Beltran had been traded to Houston and by the middle of '05, Pena had been fired.

The general manager is different now -- Dayton Moore instead of Allard Baird -- but the owner is still the same in David Glass.

"Everybody wants to sign good, young players long-term," Moore told me during a conversation shortly after the Royals made Starling their top pick. "We're no different in Kansas City. We've demonstrated that over the last three years by signing Zack Greinke, although we traded him, Billy Butler and Joakim Soria to long-term deals. Those have been our three most productive players over the last four years."

And in the Royals' defense, though they're short on pitching, their price for Greinke was high, including current shortstop Alcides Escobar.

Moore has said more than once that if the Yankees or the Red Sox want somebody in today's game, they're eventually going to get him.

"That's why you've got to have a great farm system," Moore said. "If you have a lot of good players, it's going to be hard to sign all of them long-term in the economy of today's game.

"John Schuerholz in Atlanta [the former GM and current president] signed Chipper Jones and Andruw Jones long-term, but he couldn't keep Rafael Furcal. He signed John Smoltz long-term but couldn't keep Tom Glavine, even though he tried.

"Our goal, by 2012, 2013, is to have the majority of our 25-man roster reflect home-grown talent. Hopefully, we can do it. We're on pace to do it. Then there's a pride factor -- they know the rookie ball hitting coach and manager, the know the coaches and managers all the way up."

Then, Moore says, if players decline long-term deals or leave via free agency, "they're not just saying no to the Kansas City Royals. They're saying no to every coach, instructor, scout and front-office person. That's a major split."

Moore points to the Twins, who have signed Joe Mauer, Justin Morneau, Michael Cuddyer, Jason Kubel and Joe Nathan to long-term deals, as models.

"That's what we're trying to do," Moore said. "I believe in the plan. We have to execute the plan."

For more on the MLB Draft: http://eye-on-baseball.blogs.cbsspo
rts.com/mcc/blogs/view/22297882/1?mcctag=MLB%20Draft

 



Posted on: May 13, 2010 5:20 pm
Edited on: May 13, 2010 6:50 pm
 

Hillman out, Yost in in Kansas City

This was Royals' general manager Dayton Moore speaking to the Kansas City Star on Tuesday about manager Trey Hillman: "Trey is a tremendous leader. ... He's exactly what our organization needs at this point in time."

This was Moore speaking to Hillman 48 hours later in Kansas City: "You're fired!"

And with that, bam, another Royals manager bites the dust.

That's three in the past six years, five in the past 13, and on and on this grisly story goes. From Tony Muser to Tony Pena (who did deliver an AL Manager of the Year season in 2003) to Buddy Bell to Hillman. Fired, fired, fired, fired.

Next up is former Brewers manager Ned Yost, who joined the Royals this year as special advisor to baseball operations ... which is not unlike a storm chaser signing on as special advisor to tornado damage.

Wreckage everywhere. And what I can't get over is the twister that blew through in that 48-hour span from "He's exactly what our organization needs at this point in time" to "Pack your bags and hit the road, Jack."

Talk about a reaching a crisis point.

The Royals look like they have no idea what they're doing.

They clearly underachieved under Hillman: At midweek, they ranked fifth in the AL in batting average, sixth in slugging percentage, seventh in on-base percentage ... yet 11th in runs scored. Only Baltimore's record was worse.

But they also are not getting any better players than they were five or six years ago, and the pitching is abysmal. Statistically, only the Angels have a worse bullpen right now, and only Detroit has a worse rotation.

For that, the spotlight now swings straight over to Moore, whose choice to replace Hillman was predictable: An old Braves connection from the days when Moore was an assistant to Atlanta GM John Schuerholz and Yost was a coach on manager Bobby Cox's staff.

Whatever. This is a team that has lost 100 or more games in three of the past six years and 93 or more games in five of the past six years. Moore replaced former GM Allard Baird (fired, too) in May, 2006, and the Brewers have lost 93 and 97 games in two of Moore's three full seasons.

This season? They're on pace to finish 56-106.

The exact same record they posted in 2005, the last full season before Moore was hired.

Progress? Or irreversible corrosion?

It is never pleasant when a man loses his job, no matter how much relief there surely is in many quarters of Royal fandom today.

"Thankfully, in 20 years of managing, last year easily was my most trying year," Hillman told me this spring. "Easily. Because each day, you want to give the great fans of Kansas City what they want, what they deserve."

The Royals owe their great fans something fierce. And it isn't Scott Podsednik getting picked off of base, Yuniesky Betancourt half-assing a routine infield fly and muffing it, or the current sorry bullpen that has sabotaged several games the Royals could have won.

And it damned sure isn't singing the manager's praises early in the week only to fire the same guy later in the week.

Posted on: April 17, 2008 11:27 pm
 

Pitching lessons from the Royals

There are several reasons why things are looking up for the Kansas City Royals, and chief among them is this: Their pitchers are throwing strikes.

Dovetailing into the fact that the Royals' 3.02 staff ERA was best in the AL and ranked second in the majors entering Thursday night's game in Anaheim was the fact that Kansas City pitchers also had the second-fewest walks in the AL.

Two years ago, while going 62-100, the Royals walked 637 batters to rank 14th in the AL.

"That started last year," third-year pitching coach Bob McClure says of his staff's honing in on the strike zone. "The free-pass thing was out of control my first year. We had guys who didn't belong -- nothing against them, they were just brought up before they should have been -- and they didn't command their pitches.

"The front office recognized it, and we made some changes."

Dayton Moore had taken over as general manager in May, 2006, and recognizing how raw that '06 staff was was one reason he offered Gil Meche $55 million two winters ago. Not only were some of the Royals' kids not ready for prime time, but Meche fit the veteran prototype for which the Royals were searching: Meche, with Seattle in 2006, had nearly a 2:1 strikeouts-to-walks ratio.

With McClure harping on the importance of throwing strikes throughout the spring of '07 -- and with Meche and Brian Bannister (acquired from the Mets) in the rotation -- the Royals wound up trimming their walk total by 117 from the year before. Their 520 walks -- down from that unsightly 637 in '06 -- ranked seventh in the AL.

"That huge jump started from day one in spring training before the '07 season," McClure says. "I really haven't had to mention that since then. That's something we talked about then: Pitching to contact and to your ability. If you have decent fastball command and the ability to pitch off speed, and if you have the ability to throw strikes when you're behind in the count, you can get people out."

McClure and the staff stressed that in '07, and it's really taken off in '08. Zack Greinke's 0.75 ERA leads the majors, and Bannister's 0.86 is second in the AL. One veteran AL scout I talked with the other night said Greinke's complete-game shutout over the Yankees earlier this month is the best game he's seen pitched in this young season. "He's not throwing his fastball as hard now, but it's just exploding across the plate," the scout said.

Veterans Meche and Brett Tomko have meshed well and done just what Moore hoped they would do: Provide veteran perspective and knowledge.

"It's been enjoyable to watch," McClure says. "The interaction between the pitchers themselves, whether on the bench or in the locker room, has been very good. That's something you try to create and build.

"There's a lot of down time in this game, and I'll see these guys talking about different grips and hitters. The interaction has been very good."

Other than the Meche signing -- which was roundly criticized until the right-hander made 34 starts and produced a 3.64 ERA last year -- most of Moore's moves have been under-the-radar types. One of the most important was keeping McClure as pitching coach even after manager Buddy Bell stepped down and while the Royals were searching for their next manager.

"Mac's a really, really good teacher," says that new manager, Trey Hillman. "It's a no-brainer. Dayton Moore hired Bob McClure before he hired his new manager. I told Dayton quite frankly (when I interviewed), if the new manager has a a problem with everything you've told me about Bob McClure, maybe you hired the wrong manager."

Hillman's managerial career isn't even a month old but, judging from the early returns, with Moore, Hillman, McClure and some of the players in this Kansas City clubhouse right now, the Royals finally appear to have hired a lot of the right guys.

Likes: Love the way Royals right-hander Brian Bannister approaches each start. You can read about that over in Short Hops. ... Nice to see clubs that have been down-and-out recently, like Kansas City and Florida, off to good starts. ... Pat Hughes and Ron Santo are really pleasant listening on Chicago Cubs radio broadcasts. Caught a few innings of Thursday's Cubs-Cincinnati game on XM radio while driving to that night's Angels-Royals game. ... The Colbert Report with Stephen Colbert on location in Pennsylvania this week in advance of next week's Democratic primary. Colbert is at the top of his game right now. ... The upcoming disc from Mudcrutch, Tom Petty's old band that's reunited, sounds promising.

Dislikes: Asparagus.

Rock 'N' Roll Lyric of the Day:

"It seems like yesterday
"But it was long ago
"Janey was lovely, she was the queen of my nights
"There in the darkness with the radio playlng low
"And the secrets that we shared
"The mountains that we moved
"Caught like a wildfire out of control
"Till there was nothing left to burn and nothing left to prove"

-- Bob Seger, Against the Wind

 
 
 
 
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