Dayton Moore was hired in 2006. If you could, would you hire him again?
For the purposes of discussion, let's consider the 2006 season to be fully Allard Baird's team. The Royals hired Moore on May 31st and he didn't take over until a few weeks later. From 2002-06, Baird's last five seasons, the Royals averaged 64.2 wins. In my mind, the Royals have just been an unrelenting train of bad the last decade, but those years were rough. That's averaging 64-98, even with a random 83 win season mixed in.
Under Dayton Moore, the Royals have taken a single step forward. From 2007-2011, Moore's first five seasons, the Royals have averaged 69.4 wins. Moore's worst team -- by record -- the 2009 squad, still won 65 games, which was better than Baird's five year average. And, as must be said, the Royals, at both the Major League and especially the minor league level, have spent money much more freely since Moore took over.
|Baird Wins||Moore Wins|
We've talked about this a million times, but Moore really tried to win in the short term in the early years of regime. And that attempt, call it the Gil Meche Era, topped out at 75 wins. By the time the farm system started to develop interesting young position players, the team was, after the Greinke trade in 2010, completely starting over in the starting rotation. And it was only in 2010 that Moore started to offer a timetable for rebuilding: 2012.
There's been a part of me that has always wished Moore did a complete teardown from the very beginning. Instead of delaying things. However, what was there to tear down? Could baseball in KC have survived with another three or four 100 loss seasons?
Everyone is in agreement that Dayton Moore inherited garbage. However, six years in, a list of his most productive Major League players is dominated by holdovers from the Baird Era. The Baird minor leagues had no depth, but nevertheless have provided Moore with Billy Butler and Alex Gordon, even that random Mike Aviles MVP-level season. Two of his better Major League contributors were holdovers David DeJesus and Zack Greinke. John Buck is still probably the best catcher we've had, etc.
Here is a complete list of the average or better starting pitchers the Royals have developed in the last decade: Zack Greinke. Still waiting on anyone else.
In some ways, the shape of Moore's results make sense if you want to take a hardcore apologetic stance. The minor leagues were so week, that, like bad recruiting classes in college football, the results weren't fully seen until years later. (To which I respond, you had Mike Aviles happen, there's your random 5 win player appearing out of nowhere. But whatever.)
Now, aside from getting to 75 wins, the height of the Moore Era came last winter, when consensus built that the Royals had the best minor league farm system in baseball. Maybe one of the best farm systems ever, in fact. The depth remains impressive, although the individual components are starting to look a little blurry. There are still a raft of interesting and exciting names, but nothing is guaranteed. There have been some (maybe) good drafts and some (maybe) bad ones. It hasn't been linear, either.
So two points as a way of conclusion. We're scratching the surface of a decade's worth of material here. We could have full paragraphs, pages even, on a number of individual moves, individual drafts, trades made and not made. And then there's the huge and hard to evaluate ownership factor, etc. etc. To a degree, once the years start to pile up, the won-loss record does seem to at least give some kind of sketch of what was going on.
The years roll on, and the Royals still aren't any good.
Secondly, I'm not asking if Moore should be fired. That's a slightly different question. I'm merely asking, knowing what you know now, would you hire him again?