I know ERA isn't exactly the best measuring stick, but for simplicity's sake, look at these charts of the Royals and the AL's ERA and ERA plus since 2005, and then try to tell me why this isn't one of the most depressing Royal seasons in a long time:
Overall Team Pitching (KC ERA, AL ERA, Royals ERA+)
2005: 5.49, 4.36, 74
2006: 5.65, 4.56, 76
2007: 4.48, 4.51, 101
2008: 4.48, 4.35, 97
2009: 4.83, 4.45, 91
2010: 5.09, 4.16, 78
Now, the same chart, for starting pitching only:
2005: 6.00, 4.56, 68
2006: 5.85, 4.75, 77
2007: 4.88, 4.63, 95
2008: 4.62, 4.50, 97
2009: 4.73, 4.63, 98
2010: 5.34, 4.27, 75
Moore did what any competent GM did when he first arrived, in that he was able to jettison the below-replacement-level starters (for the most part) and restore the pitching to something less than horrendous; however, in 2010 the staff essentially returned to the darkest days in team history for pitching - 2005 and 2006, right before he arrived.
What are we to make of this? Well, for one, if the next crop of arms, legitimately viewed as excellent by most prospect experts, does not make the anticipated impact, Moore should be fired. Even then, to me, this still raises a lot of questions about the competency of Moore to assemble and supplement parts to adequately replace existing black holes on the staff, and one could also argue, perhaps, that this should be reflected on Bob McClure to at least some extent. The thing I keep coming back to - Moore's stated goal to win with pitching and defense, and his mantra that pitching is the currency of baseball.
Nothing new here, I know - but sometimes looking at a chart of the "big picture" helps me understand where the organization has been, and where it needs to go.