Leftridge: Trade Deadline Looms; Will Dayton Moore Do the Right Thing?

daytonmooreDayton Moore is in the middle of the singularly biggest week of his professional life. Forget about the James Shields acquisition—that was a decision that likely took months of planning and strategizing. (And has also revealed itself to be a huge flop given what an unmitigated disaster Wade Davis has been as a starting pitcher.) No, nothing quite so overwhelmingly determinative has presented itself in his tenure like the decision he must make by the end of the month: are the Royals buyers, or sellers?

He’s got two choices, really. One that stands to make the team better going forward, and one that potentially adds a few yards of rope to the ever-shortening noose that is currently encircling his neck.

Does he do what’s right by the organization, or does he fight and claw his way to reprieve?

It’s easy to say he should do the nobler thing, but it’s another thing entirely to pretend that you’d do the same, were you to find yourself tucked securely beneath his tight flattop.

santanaSee, if the Royals sell, Moore is a goner. It’s a final admission of guilt, that the Golden Boy general manager’s infinity-year rebuilding plan is a bust. He’ll likely ride out the remainder of the season, but the clock will be ticking. Loudly.

If they buy, though—or even stand pat—it’s Dayton Moore’s final, desperate plea to David Glass. There’s a very real chance that the team—now just three games under .500—finishes out the season with their best record in 10 years.

See boss? We’re on our way! the impish Moore will suggest to his tight-pocketed, eagle-faced overlord.

But then what?

Next year, the Royals target another “pitcher who just needs a change of scenery” like Ervin Santana, only we know how the probability of lightning strikes work. Here comes, oh, I don’t know… JOE BLANTON. And here are the Royals, another year older with the key pieces of a below-average offense even closer to that great free-agency period in the sky. No promises that James Shields can replicate this year’s success after a year of being beaten into submission; no guarantee that All Star Greg Holland can be as disgustingly good as he’s been.

And so the cycle continues.

Unless he sells, of course, which he probably won’t.

Look, I get that trading Santana won’t bring you back a Wil Myers, but reasonable people aren’t expecting that. To someone in the race, though—and I mean ACTUALLY in the race—it could warrant a very good, Major League ready prospect, plus some lower level guys with upside. It could be the biggest in-season trade the Royals have made since Carlos Beltran was flipped for John Buck (ha), Mark Teahen (haHA) and Mike Wood (HAHAHA… okay, now I’m just sad).

hollandHolland wouldn’t net quite as much, but he could still land a few good pieces.

And although Royals Rebuild Part 26 would ultimately be depressing, aren’t we used to this by now?

This erratic season with a horrifically inconsistent team has proven that they STILL aren’t ready to compete, and after eight seasons, it’s pretty clear that Moore isn’t ready to be a general manager, either.

So I guess it’s actually kind of a perfect fit, maybe.

Whoa. Heavy.

Next week, tune-in for an in-depth study concerning the substantial correlation between diehard Royals’ fans and hardcore alcoholism. Or you can just reread any of my other pieces about the Royals and draw your own conclusions.

Happy Trade-Deadline Week, everybody!

As per usual, follow me on Twitter @StanfordWhistle… Ervin Santana does!

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12 Responses to Leftridge: Trade Deadline Looms; Will Dayton Moore Do the Right Thing?

  1. admin says:

    I gotta tell ya, when I read the part of your story about what was tucked beneath Moore’s “tight flatop,” I went straight to the photo atop the column to spend a few seconds admiring it and then….

    You cropped it!

    That’s cold

    • Brandon Leftridge says:

      No, that IS actually the top of his head. It’s THAT flat. Weird, right? High and tight, like Vintage Jack Harry.

  2. Paul says:

    Can’t agree with you Brandon. The Royals are eight games out entering a stretch where they play mostly non-contenders. There are solid signs that the hitting is coming around, and the loss of Santana would blow up almost any chance of competing down the stretch. I don’t see another rebuild in the immediate future, but more of building on what’s already here. I think that the Royals will not only keep Santana, but will make a run at a multi-year deal with him. If they can keep him long-term remains to be seen, but they’ll be in the mix.

    Perhaps I’m different from many, but if the Royals are playing meaningful games late in the season and can make the transition from a sub-.500 to even a bit over .500 I think they will be in the mix next year and for a couple years beyond.

    And besides, its a different vibe at the ballpark than in the past. There’s not that feeling we’ve had for so long that we are doormats for the rest of the league to wipe their feet on. To me that’s a big step forward.

    • Brandon Leftridge says:

      “…but will make a run at a multi-year deal with him.”

      If they do this, I’m completely fine with keeping him. I think he has pitched himself out of their price-range, however.

      So they keep him, he walks in the offseason, and they get a supplemental pick? For an 82-80 record? Is that worth it?

      As much as it pains me to part with him, I think he’s the hottest pitching commodity at the deadline, and Moore could clean up w/ a trade.

      That said, I don’t think it happens… at all. They’ve given every indication they’re going to be buying. That scares me.

    • david says:

      This 1000x.

      Basing the Shields trade on 4 months of results is laughable. The Royals have 11 wins in games he has started. In his 7 losses, the Royals average 1.5 runs scored. If you don’t make the trade, Santana is our number 1, Myer hits some homers and we’re probably 7-8 games below where we are now.

      • Brandon Leftridge says:

        But where ARE they, really? Do you honestly expect that the Royals are in the playoff hunt right now? Because I don’t see that at ALL.

        They’re over 25% of the way through Shields’ Royals tenure, and 3 games away from playing winning baseball. Shields isn’t the problem (he’s been amazing), but I still don’t think it’s too early to say this trade was bad. Trading for Shields was a “win now” move, and it’s clear this offense isn’t ready to follow suit.

  3. Jess says:

    Man I want to believe, but the last 20+ years has really made me a “wait and see” type on the royals.

    But the fact that the Chiefs are in camp and the Royals are still being talked about is damn near a miracle

    • Brandon Leftridge says:

      “But the fact that the Chiefs are in camp and the Royals are still being talked about is damn near a miracle”

      Absolutely. I love it.

      • the dude says:

        And then August and September happens. This is the Royals under Glass ownership, just keep that in mind.

  4. Markus Aurelius says:

    Armchair trading is as easy as armchair quarterbacking on Monday mornings in the fall. What you fail to adequately account for is that it takes two to tango. My expectation as a lifelong Royals fan is simply that Dayton will consider ALL available options and make decisions that move the team towards being a playoff/WS contender. We have no idea what other teams might or might not offer for Santana — total speculation at this point. We also have no idea how close or how far the organization and Santana are to inking a multi-year deal.

    If Dayton thinks we cannot sign Santana to a multi-year deal (either because Santana wants too much or Glass is too cheap) and some other team makes a ridiculously generous offer in a trade, then by all means trade Santana.

    However, any suggestion that we should trade Santana no matter what, without acknowledging the necessity of getting players we view as important and workable pieces in our team’s puzzle in return, is flat out wrong. It’s never as black and white as sports radio, or this article, suggests.

    • Brandon Leftridge says:

      100% agree with your statements.

      We all get to have opinions, though, and for some bizarre reason, I actually get paid to have mine. Doesn’t make it right. I usually try to paint both sides of the barn and explain why I chose the colors that I did.

      I just think trading Santana– again, unless he can be signed long-term– is the right move. It’s nearly indisputable that he’s the best trade candidate right now… but like you said, it depends on what someone is willing to give to land him. (Most baseball folks I’ve seen weigh in on the matter suggest his haul SHOULD be better than what the Cubs got for Garza.)

  5. Sergent Shriver Stedenko says:

    I think you have a solid .500 team and you keep Santana and re-sign him. Even throw him a tender now to see if he bites.

    Eventually you have to become a team where you don’t trade away for birds-in-bushes every year.

    Plus Santana appears to be a good guy, likes KC and we need to have 3 shutdown pitchers if we want to win the Central playing small-ball.

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