(Note: This is the second portion of the interview, the part that occured in the bottom of the third inning.)
RH: You don't like to hold the ball?
RL: Here is Miguel Cabrera, who drove in the two runs for the Tigers, in the top of the third inning. He was not a "home grown" player for the Tigers. He came from the Florida Marlins, and of course, one way to improve the club would be by way of trade, and I'm not trying to fan any flames here, but I think that we all know that if you go to another team and you say, "We want one of your best young players," they're going to say, "well, we want one of your best young players in return."
DM: And that is the way it works, yeah.
RL: You know, its just been a long time, I don't know since I've been here and were talking 14 years, that the Royals have been in a position were they have made a big trade with a player that didn't really need to be traded, if that makes sense. I mean, Zack had expressed an interest in being traded, so that is were you are and you make that deal, but you are in a position now, where you have got some guys that probably want to hang onto and don't want to trade, and, and, but that is just part of the business.
DM: Well, and, to execute a trade that is impactful, you have to have good players to trade, and you know, Zack Greinke is a perfect example. We had a player who was a Cy Young Award winner, we were able to execute a deal that really improved our baseball team, but you're exactly right, everybody is looking for the same thing, everybody wants to upgrade their pitching, whether you want to trade for a 3 or 4 hole hitter, or a short stop, or a catcher, that’s who primarily are what teams are looking for, so we have to always be open-minded with deals that make sense. There is a lot of very creative baseball people out there that come up with ideas. Its our job to explore, its our job to listen and ask questions and that’s what we'll do, and that’s what we've been doing.
RH: Dayton its got to be hard to find a "Number One Guy" [Rex literally says quote, unquote]. Can you win with [number] 3 and 4 starters, if you're able to get those guys in the off season? And we've saw what the White Sox have done this year with maybe one guy that was "their guy", Sale, but they were able to get it done with some, you know, some 3 and 4's.
RH: Do you believe that can happen here?
DM: Absolutely, you have got to be able to play defense. You got to have an offense where a 3 and 4 hole hitter are consistent, you know what your offense is going to…those two guys are going to show up every single night and compete in the batter's box. Getting a guy to play great defense, no question about that. But uh, you know what, Hud, we've got to have pitchers that have a mindset of a number one, they don't have to go out there and perform, their pitches don't have to have to actually have the characteristics of a number one starter, because truthfully, we can sit here and debate that Justin Verlander may be the only number one starter in our division. Certainly at times certain pitchers have performed, maybe for a two, three week period that performed like number ones, but we want to have pitchers that have the mindset of a number one. That means that they're going to prepare, they're going to hold runners, they're going to field their positions, they're going to compete. They're not going to make excuses, they're not going to battle umpires. They're going to work with their defense and work with their catcher and, you know be a great teammate. So those are the types of pitchers that we need to develop and cultivate and we need to bring them into this organization.
RH: How about the back end of the bullpen? That is the envy of the league. You know I get to share…I talk to a lot of the opposing managers that come in, and along with the players, and they all talk about "Man, we hope your starter can go nine, we don't even want to see any of your guys in the pen." You got to feel pretty comfortable about what you got back there.
DM: We do Hud, but every year we're reminded, and we're in meetings right now with all of our scouts who are in town, and we're reminded every year that you have to tweak the bullpen, year in and year out. I mean its…the truth of the matter is most of those guys in the bullpen were failed starters at one point in time, they're not perfect pitchers. When you ask a bullpen to compete over 162 [game season], they're going to get tired, they're going to get blown out, and we've got to be able to match up well the last third of a baseball game. I've been saying that since day one, since coming here to Kansas City, and we'll tweak it, but we do feel great about the young power arms that we have here. We feel that they're going to continue to get better, and we're really proud of what they have been able to accomplish.
RL: By the way, the Royals, this year, have established an American League record for most strike outs by a bullpen in a single season.
RL: Saying quite a bit.
RH: I'll say.
RL: And on the topic of pleasant surprises, there have been some disappointments, we don't need to get into that, I mean its pretty well documented. And the truck is thinking right along with me, Kelvin Herrera. Wow. I mean he was a good minor league pitcher, but that came pretty quickly for him at this level.
DM: It really has. You know Rene Francisco and I sat down with him today and spent a little time with Kelvin and just really congratulated him on the great year that he has had, and talked about his off-season plans, and his commitment. This kid is a very focused pitcher, he don't want to be good. He wants to be great, and he wants to be pitching in that All-Star game last year. In fact, you know he is one of the few players that actually stayed, sat in the stands, watched the All-Star game, was just captivated by the atmosphere, and he wants to be part of something special, and he told us today that, "You know what? We're going to win here and I am going to do everything that I can to make sure that I am a part of a championship team." And that is the type of heart that you have to have with your players.
RH: Oh! No question! The more of those guys that you have got in your clubhouse, especially that show up day one, in spring training that are talking about a championship season we're going to have this year. Lets go about it the right way. We're better off with them, bigger chances it happens!
RL: Back to back hits, Alex Gordon and Billy Butler who established career highs this year, Dayton, for hits. Alex had a career season last year, Billy's had some big years, but they continue to get better.
DM: They really do. And, you know, our first organizational meeting in 2007, one of things that we discussed, is that Alex Gordon and Billy Butler need to turn into players. And then we need to have a wave of young players behind him. And our goal was by 2012-13, that the majority of our core players reflect home-grown talent, and you know what, with JJ Picollo, and Scott Sharp and Lonnie Goldberg and Rene Francisco and Mike Arbuckle have done to help us build this system has just been terrific.
RL: Dayton, I know you'd have done this for us any day of the season, you have always been upfront in answering questions, and we got one more game after tonight, but thanks a lot for stopping by and answering some questions.
DM: OK, Ryan, you and Hud, thanks for everything, I appreciate it.
RH: Thanks Day[ton], thanks for coming up.