Decisions are generally judged by their results, not their context. Those that succeed are hailed as visionary; those that fail are derided as misguided. This tendency, while understandable, also obscures and obstructs a better understanding of the decision-making process and leads to false judgments of those involved.
Consider the battle of Gettysburg. If Pickett’s charge had worked, breaking the center of the Union line at Gettysburg, Lee’s decision would have been hailed as military genius rather than wasteful folly. However, that gamble shouldn’t have been needed: Lee should never have allowed himself to be placed in such a desperate position in the first place. The success of Pickett’s charge in an alternate universe should not have taught future military leaders to stake all on desperate final gambles, yet it would likely have done so. Assessing that final day requires an understanding of all that came before it.
Similarly, if all goes right for the Royals and they make the playoffs this year, Dayton Moore will be hailed for his bold decision-making and all events & decisions leading up to October 2013 will be left behind. Yet, like Lee’s army in the days leading up to Pickett’s charge, the team allowed itself to be cornered into a desperate gamble by virtue of its own mistakes and indecision (along with some bad luck). Regardless of outcome, it should not be forgotten that the Royals, at best, backed themselves into a corner in which a risky, blockbuster trade was deemed necessary without further delay. The Trade and its ancillary actions will no more be justified by their success than a successful Pickett's charge should have been. In both cases success would have been achieved despite many decisions leading to them, not because of them.
I write this now after reading/hearing many critical commentators note that they'll "eat crow" or other such emotions if everything breaks right and the Royals do make the postseason. They shouldn't have to. Decisions should be judged at least equally on their context, which can be properly analyzed & understand, rather than results which can't always be explained. Who knows why the Union line might have broken that day*, but it would never have been there in the first place if days earlier Lee had seized the high ground or chosen not to fight an entrenched foe on ill-scouted ground. Concerns with the trades & roster decisions leading up to the 2013 season are well-documented; they should be proudly maintained whatever the results. At worst (or best), critical Royals fans should feel the relief of getting away with something, not the shame of being "wrong".
Though it seems most likely that the Royals will charge valiantly into the entrenched cannons of the Tigers lineup only to limp away hoping for next year, I personally cling to the same desperate hope of success Confederate generals must have felt watching their men march away over those open fields. If this works, I'll be thrilled with our leaders' luck, not their genius. And that's nothing to apologize for. In the meantime, I'm ready to charge that ridge and hope for the best. Maybe we'll make history.
*I read a fascinating book a few years ago, the title of which I can't now remember or find, which argued that the obscure cavalry skirmish on the final day of Gettysburg was actually a failed part of Lee's master plan to encircle the Union line and hit the center from behind just as Pickett's division reached the wall. Agree with its conclusions or not, it was a great read for history buffs.