We know the short answer to the above is a resounding NO, don't mortgage the future for short term gain. Our many lengthy discussions of the Wil Myers trade certainly confirms as much. The long view certainly tells us that six plus years of Wil Myers will be worth more than two years of James Shields (and let's face it, that is what last winter's trade has boiled down to).
That said, do you still trust Dayton Moore's Process?
Frankly, THE PROCESS is here and has been for a couple of years. Hosmer, Moustakas, Perez, Duffy, Holland, Crow, Escobar, Cain and, via the above, Shields are THE PROCESS. Outside of Yordano Ventura next spring and Kyle Zimmer sometime after that, where is the next wave of prospects? With the exception of Jorge Bonifacio, can you name me a player that is potential good major league regular that is currently out of A ball?
Now, Christian Colon might well be a major league regular...on this team, mainly because his name is not Chris Getz, Johnny Giavotella, Elliot Johnson or Desi Relaford, but that's not really what a contending team is looking for.
My point is not to get overly critical of the Royals' farm system. I have certainly left out a number of solid players from AAA down to High A (Cuthbert, Calixte), but there is no Hosmer or Myers anytime soon. Sure, maybe Raul Adelberto Mondesi Jr. III and Hunter Dozier vault through the ranks faster than we expect, but are they top ten prospects like the first wave of The Process?
With that in mind, let's remember that 2014 is James Shields' last year as a Royal and, should they choose not to pick up the option, it could be Billy Butler's as well. Alex Gordon could be gone in two seasons, while Eric Hosmer and Greg Holland, via arbitration, are likely to get real expensive real fast.
In very broad terms, even without adding a big name free agent or two and even without resigning a Santana, Shields, Butler or Gordon, the Royals' will likely be bumping up against David Glass' general payroll ceiling year after year.
Should Zimmer, Duffy and Ventura are all turn out to be good starters, this current team - with Dayton Moore's usual bargain shopping/fascination with reclamation projects and Bruce Chen off-season - probably could win 81-86 games for the next few years. Is that what The Process was about? Kind of contending for four or five years?
Now, maybe Kyle Zimmer is a freaking ace and maybe Mike Moustakas hits and maybe Lorenzo Cain stays healthy and maybe (hell, it's actually quite possible) Eric Hosmer becomes Joey Votto and the Royals become a real force. That's a lot of maybes, boys and girls.
Would it make sense to really go all-in for 2014? We joked and yet were kind of serious in that Moore essentially went 'all-in' last year, but he didn't really. All-in is going to your owner and saying 'Let me do whatever it takes to win the World Series this year, spend $100 million, empty the farm system, and next year you can name the payroll number and we'll fit under it'.
Let's just go into the dream world (or nightmare world for you prospect hounds) and trade Kyle Zimmer and Yordano Ventura, Mondesi and whomever else has real value (Clint Robinson even - beat you to it!) and get an infield and an outfield bat. Throw money at whatever starting pitcher you think is the best available and then go get another one or two as well. While you're at it, how about a one year rental at third base or even centerfield? It won't happen and, quite honestly, it may not be entirely possible even if you take into account that baseball players don't always follow the top dollar.
That said, if Dayton Moore (let's pretend he actually could do it) assembled a 95 win team for 2014 and got to the World Series, knowing that it would all be torn down between the winter of 2014 and the trade deadline in 2015, would you be in favor of it? In theory, your World Champion 2014 Royals would have players with enough value to restock your farm system to at least what it is right now.
Long story short: would you trade a World Series in 2014 for two 90+ loss seasons in 2015 and 2016?