The Royals and the author need a change.
Rumors are swirling around the Royals attempting to trade Wil Myers. Names like James Shields and Jon Lester are being thrown around in connection with the young, talented outfielder. But alas, they are just rumors right? Nothing to get all worked up about. Until something happens it's merely talk. Right?
This time something is different. When there are rumors about free agents, one can reasonably think that agents are trying to create a bidding war. With a Minor Leaguer like Wil Myers, if there is something being fabricated it's by the Royals. If these are "just" rumors, then the Royals are attempting to communicate to baseball that they are dead serious about dealing Myers and are looking for pitching. So whether the exact specific rumors are true is actually irrelevant.
The point is that Dayton Moore looks at his team and sees the biggest potential impact bat expendable for some pitching and the opening salvo are two veterans who aren't that good and are nearing free agency. Dayton Moore must have skipped his negotiation class when they discussed anchoring theory. On second thought, maybe he's a student of anchoring and has decided that by dangling the suggestion of Lester any trade involving Wil Myers for a pitcher will look better by comparison. Smooth move, Mr. Moore.
This seems like at least the third off-season where as a fanbase, we've said that Dayton Moore needs to do something of substance. It also seems like the third off-season where Moore has misread the market, jumped too quickly and dangled valuable pieces for other team's trash (Butler for Yuni anyone?). Is there any evidence that we should expect anything different than what we've been given in the past?
Dayton Moore's tenure has outlasted that of Allard Baird and he has one fewer winning season to show for it. The calls for Baird's head were cacophonous, but people remain relatively optimistic on Dayton Moore. Why? Is it because he built a farm system ranked highly by Baseball America? It must be, because during his tenure the Royals have destroyed the stadium, the 7th inning stretch and the broadcast. Not to mention failing to even sniff .500 and only building a good bullpen due to an inability to develop starting pitching.
I realize there is a healthy dose of disgust with Dayton Moore, but it seems to reside in our small niche of the world here in the blogosphere. General fans and media have praised Daytons acquisitions of Ervin Santana and Jeremy Guthrie while ignoring the astronomical costs of these two mediocre pitchers. They seem to believe that the Royals are finally making a push to win and that it's only the rotation which is holding them back.
Most would agree that the Royals did need to improve their rotation, however all of the movies Dayton Moore seems to be making are not designed to help the Royals but to save his job. This is the first off-season where Moore seems to be making rash decisions without regard to the future of the franchise in a desperate move to stay employed. Dealing Myers for a rent-a-player isn't a move that a long-term GM would make.
I've actually defended Dayton Moore in the past. I thought that he was wise to spend as much money in the draft as possible while trying to build a pipeline of young talent. But just as that pipeline might actually bear fruit, he starts cutting it off and selling what's in backlog.
This craziness has combined with the numerous other faults of Dayton Moore to mean that it's time for the Royals to get a new general manager. Not after this season, not after next season, but today. There's good reason to believe the lack of pitching talent is due to the heavy-handed and one-dimensional approach the Royals take to their young pitchers. It's either Dayton Moore's road to surgery or the highway.
The paranoid culture of ignorance which pervades One Royals Way has finally taken it's toll on me. I've been a Royals fan for a long time and I've written in the past that my fandom will survive. However, I don't think that's the case anymore. The only thing that I like about this team anymore is the fact that it's geographically close to me.
The organizational philosophy of anti-intelligence and paranoid secrecy is so against what I believe in that I can not continue rooting for the success of those in charge. For me, rooting for this team to win another game is like rooting for my own personal demise.
I love the idea of knowledge and intellectualism. I strongly value the freedom of expression and information. The Royals are the antithesis of that. They continually ignore and downplay even the most basically held tenets of statistical analysis. Dayton Moore himself continues to spout ignorant things like:
"This last year..is the first time...that Billy Butler...became much, much more consistent hitting with runners in scoring position."
This was just the latest indication that Dayton Moore has no idea how to value players or evaluate what they are doing. That is the prime directive of a general manager. Value talent and acquire it accordingly. He's actually come out in public and admitted in so many words that he has no idea how to do that.
This is not a man who should be leading a baseball team and I am not a man who can support a team with him as it's leader. Every time this team manages to win a game it's a mini-success for ignorance. Every time the stadium is filled it's a vote for Garth Brooks during the 7th inning stretch. Every eyeball on tv is telling Dayton Moore and company that Rex Hudler is a fantastic addition to the broadcast.
Maybe Dayton Moore is merely a pawn and all of this kind of nonsense comes down from David Glass, but I don't believe that. Sure Glass seems to be hoarding cash rather than spending it on payroll, but he cannot be party to this glorification of ignorance.
People like to get on Glass about his Wal-Mart payroll, but the rest of the organization is run in a very un Wal-Mart way. The retailing behemoth is a glutton for data. They don't just trust their gut on what will sell, they have some of the most advanced analytics in business. They pioneered the idea of "big data" and have crunched numbers for years in order to find even the smallest advantage. The problem isn't that the Royals are run like Wal-Mart, but rather that they're not.
So in the end, this front office did something I didn't think was possible. They killed my fandom. I take no joy in wearing my dozens of Royals hats. I find more annoyances than pleasures out at Kauffman Stadium. I'll skip over Hudler on TV to watch a Tampa Bay Rays or Texas Rangers game.
Maybe this is all just off-season bluster. Maybe come Opening Day I'll be back on the bandwagon, again cheering on my childhood team. But I'll probably look on the mound and see Ervin Santana and remember why it was that I was so angry. Maybe I'll look back at this and realize that it was just a cathartic self-indulgent waste of internet ink. But being born in Kansas City shouldn't doom me to enduring losing at the hands of incompetence and then being told I'm too dumb to understand The Process.
I'm not trying to get people up in arms like some radio shock jock. I'm not trying to send a message or create page views. I started writing about the Royals because I felt like I had something to say and that I could uncover something and reveal it to like-minded people. I've finally come to realize that there might be more to fandom than geography and that there is a whole world of intelligently run baseball teams out there to watch.
The only way this team is worth rooting for is with new management, thus the only thing I can justifiably root for is new management.