Bob Fescoe had Dayton Moore on this morning while I was driving home early for the day to take care of my wife and child, both suffering from strep.
Here are the pertinent nuggets (from memory on the drive home) I took from a conversation full of softball questions:
* The Royals have had discussions on a number of trades, but don't see any further deals happening unless one side or the other lowers demands, which may not be until mid-ST or early in the season, if at all. They know there is a market for Soria but apparently haven't been wowed enough by any offers yet.
* Moore feels that the team cannot compete for top tier free agents and must grow stars from within, hence the hesitation to trade any of the top prospects. He also referenced the amount of investment put into the top prospects to get them to "buy in" to what the Royals are doing as another reason for not dealing them.
* The Royals are building their bullpen with the idea of anchoring the back end with Soria. Moore feels if all the bullpen arms perform to expectation, there will be a market to deal a piece (read Soria or Broxton) during the season.
* Aaron Crow will get every opportunity to try out for the rotation this spring, and is showing up for 2-3 hours every day to work with the training staff during the offseason. If he doesn't work out as a starter, at least the Royals know they have an All-Star reliever.
* Dayton didn't directly come out and say it, but alluded that Jonathan Sanchez, Luke Hochevar, and Bruce Chen are "in" the rotation, and the "lefty power pitchers" will be competing for the last two spots.
* Dayton is aware of the fan backlash re: Yuniesky Betancourt. He says Betancourt turned down more money from NL teams that also wanted him in a similar role to come to KC because of his relationship with the team. Moore's words, as exactly as I can remember them, are that Yuni will "get reps at second base," will play some SS but he expects Alcides Escobar to start 150+ games there, and that he will spell Moustakas against a tough lefty. Moore said he is a liked player in the clubhouse, and still has "skills." He emphasized skills a lot. He thinks that Yuni is still developing (though he will be 30) and cited Francoeur as an example of a player who is only a few years younger and still developing. Moore likes Yuni's split against lefties, citing a .275 career average and .421 slug against LHP.
* There is a mutual desire to extend Alex Gordon, but there is no immediate urgency to get a deal done at the moment, as he is under team control for two more years. An extension will have to make sense with respect to when the other young players will be in their arbitration and free agency years.
* Moore feels that Lorenzo Cain is a "definite" upgrade defensively in CF, which surprised Fescoe, who loved him some Melky. Moore acknowledged Cain is unproven offensively.