On July 31, 2008 the Royals woke up in a position they'd long become familiar with. At 50-59 (thanks to a four game winning streak), the Royals were way out of it in the AL Central, despite thrilling fans with their pursuit of a 75-win season. For the second straight season, fans expected at least some action. Rumors were out there involving Grudz, Mahay, DeJesus, Teahen, and Greinke. Dutton penned a story about Mahay and Grudz's emotions. Other players, such as Miguel Olivo, at least seemed possible.
Instead, Moore's deadline activity can be summed up pretty quickly: he made no trades.
At least not at or around the deadline, that is. Moore made two minor in-season deals, and reserved his real shockers for the off-season, when he made the Crisp-Ramirez and Jacobs-Nunez deals. As for the actual in-season trades:
June 6, 2008: Angel Berroa traded to Dodgers for Juan Rivera. One of the happiest days in Royals history, Berroa was the last no-hit, no-field, overpaid shortstop the Royals would ever field. Juan Rivera, a middleinfielder with a career .248/.298/.311 line and currently playingin Burlington, is, I believe, the first sub-.300 OBP guy Dayton ever acquired. He must have been desperate!
August 9, 2008: Horacio Ramirez traded to White Sox for Paulo Orlando. Of course, as we know now, we wouldn't be seperated from Ho-Ram for too long. Orlando, a unique baseballer from Brazil, is a 23 year old OF with a career minor league line of .259/.303/.393. He is currently a Blue Rock.
Not trading Greinke was a good thing. Not trading DeJesus was probably a good thing. Not trading Grudzielanek was a calculated risk, and the Royals lost the gamble. Grudz was hitting .300/.346/.401 at the deadline, and rewarded the Royals for their loyalty by getting injured by Ross Gload on August 1st, then failing to sign with anybody before it was too late. It's about results, and the Royals generated a losing result with Grudz. Not trading Mahay, who had more value last season than he does now, was another mistake.
2008 was Moore's worst deadline as the GM of the Royals, and given the two trades he made over the winter, in addition to his minor free agent spending spree, the idea was clearly in his head that the Royals needed to make a play for 2009-10. It is extremely likely that this will go down as a huge mistake, and one that may further set back a franchise that does not need any additional barriers.
During the second half of this decade, nearly every National League team has been a buyer at the deadline, and the constant shopping of the New Boston Red Yankees, as well as aggressive deadlines by both LA teams, has created strong seller's markets. No, the Royals have not had a huge number of tradeable assets (in part because of Dayton's free agent mistakes), but when you look at Dayton Moore's three deadlines in total, you have to conclude that he has failed to take advantage of his one suppposed strength, his scouting abilities.
Yes, Dayton has made multiple non-deadline trades, including the very good Bannister-Burgos swap. However, one can only wonder what he might have been able to get in 2007 or 2008 if he'd been a more active player in a competitive market. Look at what the Indians have done the last two deadlines: Cleveland has a better Major League and Minor League talent stream than the Royals, yet Shapiro (who is far from perfect) has done much to position the Indians for another run beginning in 2011. The Royals, in 2011, Gil Meche's farewell tour, will most likely be rebuilding again.