Dayton 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.
See, 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).
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.
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!