1985, what a glorious memory. Too bad for me I was a baby on a military base in Kentucky when it happened, so it is not a memory for me. I've lived a life with no splendid memories of the Royals save for Greinke's magical 2009 season. I've seen the Damon/Beltran/Dye outfield traded away for greener pastures, (I really thought Mike Wood was going to be a stud), the disaster that was 2004 and the promise of Bob Hamelin and Angel Berroa being a mere mirage. Yet, I stubbornly stick by the Royals with the idea that it is more fun to root passionately for one team no matter the results. I hope one day I am rewarded for these years of torture I've endured. For now though, a DVD which celebrates the seminal moment in Royals history will have to suffice. So in an effort to acquire a free copy of this earth shattering DVD, here is my plan for Dayton Moore.
June 2011: As the Royals slip into last place on June 20th, Moore comes to terms with the fact that the 2011 season is indeed another lost season in a series of lost seasons for the Royals. All is not lost though, as the bullpen is filled with young arms, the infield corners are filled with big time prospects, Alex Gordon has finally shattered the "bust" label, and Alcides Escobar continues his pursuit of a 400 batting average. Not much can be done this month in regards to trades, but on June 25th, Moore promotes Jake Odorizzi to NW Arkansas.
July 2011: This should be a fun month. The saavy free agent signings of past offseasons should be turned into more pieces for the future. In the first of many moves, Moore trades Wilson Betemit to the San Francisco Giants for Eric Surkamp and Jarrett Parker on July 18th. The Giants produce quality pitchers, and it never hurts to add arms to the system. Surkamp is a 23 year old lefty currently putting up great numbers in AA. He is sporting a nearly 4:1 K:BB ration. Parker is a speedy 22 year old outfielder with a great eye at the plate who has also produced 23 extra base hits this year. Both would be quality additions to the system at the price of a player who is now of little use to the Royals.
Unfortunately for the Royals fanbase, Moore decides to hold on to Melky Cabrera and Jeff Francoeur. Moore drives the fan base insane with this decision. Seeing the error in his ways, Moore takes to the phones in an effort to move these pieces. While unsuccessful in moving Francoeur due to his complete disappearance at the plate since early May, Moore finds a taker for Cabrera in the Cincinnati Reds. In return for Cabrera, Moore receives AA relief pitcher Brad Boxberger. While some fans see this as a disappointing return for Cabrera, Moore came to the harsh realization that other teams don't view Cabrera as a starting OF'er and took what he saw as a good offer. Boxberger has the makings of a future closer as he is striking almost 15 batters per nine innings while posting an ERA below two for the Carolina Mudcats.
While fans come away disappointed, Moore is content in adding two more quality arms to the system while only giving up two players seen as expendable. Surkamp is assigned to NW Arkansas and Parker to Wilmington, while Boxberger is sent to Omaha and on a fast track to Kansas City.
To shore up the major league roster, Moore brings up Lorenzo Cain and Johnny Giavotella from Omaha and Royals fans rejoice. Cain is inserted into the starting lineup five days a week with Mitch Maier getting the other two starts, and Johnny Giavotella gets the majority of starts at second as the Chris Getz experiment officially goes into full pull out mode.
August 2011: The biggest event of this month is the signing of first round pick Bubba Starling. Starling decides he has no interest in staring down Big Ten linebackers and learning to play from Darrin Erstad at Nebraska when Moore offers Starling a $6.25 million dollar bonus to the local product. Starling wins the heart of the Royals fanbase when at a press conference he bombastically predicts the Royals will win, "not one, not one, not two, not three, not four, not five, not six, not seven", championships during his time with the Royals. ESPN takes note and adds a "Royals Index" to their MLB page. Tim Cowlishaw and Jay Mariotti also take note, and devote themselves to belittling Starilng and the Royals for the rest of their careers. Moore smiles smugly as it all unfolds.
September 2011: The roster expands to 40 players, and young players try to make their name in what is roughly the equivalent of AAAA games. Clint Robinson fails to produce in 17 at bats and is forever shunned by the front office. David Lough on the other hand, capitilizes on the opportunity and hits 331/386/472 in 31 at bats and Moore falls in love with the gritty player.
The Royals end the season with a 71-91 record and are awarded the #4 pick in the 2012 draft. It was a disappointing season record wise, but fans start to see the light. Young players got their feet wet, and optimism is high for the future. Some though, remain scared of just what Moore might do to this optimism.
November 2011: In the first bright news of the offseason, Alcides Escobar is awarded a Gold Glove. After a horrible start that saw him staring down the "Mendoza Line" in early June, Escobar rebounded to hit 270/312/378 on the season and his defense remained consistent throughout the season.
At the GM Meetings in Orlando, Florida, Moore uses his time to gauge interest in his players and what free agents might be open to signing with the Royals. While re-buffed by the few big time players, Moore comes away convinced he can find a few diamonds in the rough.
December 2011: Moore trades Billy Butler to the Baltimore Orioles for Jake Arrieta and Bobby Bundy. Arrieta is seen as the #3 on the 2012 staff and Bundy is a 21 year old pitcher performing well in High-A. If Arrieta can cut his walks in half, Moore thinks Arrieta can be a solid presence in the rotation. Moore was tempted to include Wil Myers in a trade with Butler, but could not lure a true #1 pitcher with the package and settled on the promise of Arrieta continuing his improvement. With this move, Moore now has a hole at DH. After being underwhelmed by Robinson and Kila in 2011, Moore decides to seek a free agent to fill the void at DH.
After failing to procure a #1 pitcher with a Butler/Myers package, Moore sets out to find out what a package starring Myers can net him. After placing calls, Moore finds one he likes but sees what he might be able to find on the free agent market instead. Unfortunately, Moore comes away empty handed, as Roy Oswalt backs out at the last minute on a $42M/3 year deal and opts to return to the Phillies in a chase for a World Series ring. Moore doesn't get what people see in Edwin Jackson and backs out on a potential offer for him and walks away from free agency empty handed on pitchers.
Moore decides to bite the bullet and green light the previously talked about Wil Myers deal with the Los Angeles Dodgers. In an effort to shed payroll, the Dodgers send Chad Billingsley to the Royals for Wil Myers and Tim Melville. While unhappy to part with Myers and Melville, Moore sees Billingsley as a $46M/4 year investment in a 27 year old pitcher. Billingsley is seen as the ace of the rebuilt rotation and the strikeout pitcher the Royals have been lacking at the top of the staff.
Not done yet, Moore fields calls for Joakim Soria. After a rough start to the 2011, Soria pitched to normal levels for the last four months of the season. After Moore thinks long and hard after an enticing offer comes in, Moore pulls the trigger on a deal with the Texas Rangers. With the Rangers looking to move Neftali Feliz to the rotation and willing to take on Soria's more expensive option years, they agree to trade prized 20 year old left handed pitching prospect Martin Perez to the Royals. Moore didn't want to trade Soria, but the offer of a Top 20 prospect like Perez was too much to pass on. Plus, Moore sees his bullpen full of young arms and the midseason acquisition of Boxberger as enough to make up for the loss of Soria. In his eyes, he has traded Soria/Butler/Cabrera/Betemit/Myers/Melville for Billingsley/Arrieta/Perez/Bundy/Surkamp/Boxberger/Parker.
Lastly, Moore extends arbitration offers to Alex Gordon, Chris Getz, Brayan Pena, and Luke Hochevar and re-signs Matt Treanor to a $1.5M/one year contract. Moore declines options on Mike Aviles, Kyle Davies, Mitch Maier and Robinson Tejeda. Aviles is heartbroken, as he lost his major league job and Ed Hardy endorsement in a matter of months. Moore and Davies share a tearful farewell and promise to write as often as possible. Long distance relationships are hard, but they both dream this one will be different.
January 2012: Moore has made it to 2012! He fears the predictions of the Mayans, as he is starting to see things come together for his Royals. He meditates hourly in an effort to ward off the upcoming apocalypse. In the time spent not meditating, he sets out to fill the Royals roster.
Jeff Francis who liked his time with the Royals, is brought back on a $4M/one year contract. After restructuring the rotation, Moore is happy to find a #5 pitcher who wants to be in Kansas City. The affable Canadian agrees that it is a great situation, as he now longer needs to pretend he is anything more than a #5 pitcher.
Seeing as he traded Billy Butler in efforts to strengthen the rotation, Moore sets out to find a DH. He has two options in house with Robinson and Kila, but he is thoroughly unimpressed with those players. So, Moore reaches out to the representatives of Vladimir Guerrero and a $2M/one year contract agreement is reached. Guerrero is given the DH job and the opportunity to mentor the young Alcides Escobar. Escobar, two days removed from having his braces removed, is elated with the news of a free swinging Hispanic like himself coming to Kansas City to mentor him.
The roster is almost complete and the free agent pool is thin. While most of the work is done, Moore sees that he needs one more outfielder. With Davies gone, and not writting as much as he promised, Moore decides to call upon an old friend to fill the void. Jeff Francoeur is contacted and quickly accepts a $2.5M/ one year deal with the team. Moore tells Francoeur that if he signs, he will be sharing RF duties with David Lough, who had some great at bats in random September duty. Francoeur, always known for his fearless leadership, glady accepts the opportunity. He calls Lough to explain how great the situation will be and sends him a copy of his SI cover with a note saying, "this was me as a rookie, this can be you as a rookie, bro!" Moore, saddened by the growing distance between him and Davies, is enthused by having Francoeur so close to him once again.
February 2012: Moore looks back on the last eight months and is pleased with the progress he has made. The starting rotation is no longer a complete question mark. Yes, he had to sacrifice, but he thinks he has won in most of his dealings. The trading of Myers hit the fanbase especially hard, but the addition of Perez to the system quickly fanned those flames down. The system was replenished with his moves, and Moore was able to add major league pieces in the process of his moves. He traded Butler's contract for Billingsley's, and moved other pieces in areas he saw as strengths to fill voids where he saw weaknesses. The 2012 season is setting up to be a major year for the Royals. The major league team has solid potential, and the minor league system is still loaded.
C: Matt Treanor
1B: Eric Hosmer
2B: Johnny Giavotella
3B: Mike Moustakas
SS: Alcides Escobar
LF: Alex Gordon
CF: Lorenzo Cain
RF: Daivd Lough/Jeff Francoeur
DH: Vladimir Guererro
Bench: Brayan Pena, Chris Getz, Jarrod Dyson
SP: Chad Billingsley
SP: Luke Hochevar
SP: Jake Arrieta
SP: Danny Duffy
SP: Jeff Francis
RP: Felipe Paulino
RP: Tim Collins
RP: Greg Holland
RP: Louis Coleman
RP: Everett Teaford
RP: Blake Wood
CP: Aaron Crow
Top Ten Prospects
1. Jake Odorizzi
2. Martin Perez
3. Bubba Starling
5. Cheslor Cuthbert
7. Eric Surkamp
8. Brad Boxberger
9. Bobby Bundy
10. John Lamb