Comparing Dayton Moore to the First Seven Years of Royals Baseball

Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

Dayton Moore has been on the job for nearly seven years now. How has he compared to the first seven years of Royals baseball, when the franchise came into existence?

It has now been seven years since Dayton Moore was originally hired to take over the Royals. While The Process hasn't achieved its results as quickly as we would like, Dayton has consistently preached patience, suggesting that going with young players will results in a afive seven eight ten year plan to success.

This organization has employed a youthful strategy before. In 1969, when the club first came into existence, the Royals decided that going young would develop a strong nucleus to build a winner around. How long did it take for that process to succeed under new General Manager Cedric Tallis? Let us look at a comparison of that process versus Dayton's Process.

Let's first acknowledge the caveat that building an expansion team is different than rebuilding an existing organization. Here are some of the pros and cons with each situation:

Pros

Cons

Expansion Team

· Can pick players from a limited talent pool

· No free agency (until 1973); players are bound to team with reserve clause

· Only players available are rejects from other organizations

· No free agency; no means to pursue outside talent unless through trades or waivers

Dayton Moore's Team

· Inherited a few players that could serve as assets to build upon or trade

· Increased budget to pursue outside talent

· Inherit players already invested in, which may make it difficult to upgrade

· Must deal with free agency and potential departing players


We have been told the Royals cupboard was bare when Dayton Moore took over. Let's compare what he inherited to the talent the Royals were able to collect following the 1969 Expansion Draft:

Notable Players Acquired in Expansion Draft

Notable Players Inherited from Allard Baird Regime

C Ellie Rodriguez

Young minor leaguer, went on to become replacement level catcher.

C John Buck

Slightly above replacement level catcher.

1B Mike Fiore

Young minor leaguer, had one great season in a part-time role.

1B Doug Mientkiewicz

Would become a bench player after this point in his career.

2B Jerry Adair

Longtime MLB starter at the end of his career.

2B Mark Grudzielanek

36 years old, but still putting up 3 WAR seasons.

SS Jackie Hernandez

Fringe Major Leaguer.

SS Angel Berroa

Completely washed up.

3B Joe Foy

Promising 26 year old Red Sox hitter coming off disappointing season.

3B Mark Teahen

Just 24 years old coming off a 3.7 WAR season.

3B Paul Schaal

Part-time glove man with the Angels, would become 10 WAR player over six years in KC.

OF Emil Brown

Journeyman coming off a career best 2 WAR season.

OF Pat Kelly

Twins minor leaguer would put up 3.5 WAR over 2 KC seasons.

OF David DeJesus

Solid Major Leaguer putting up 3-4 WAR seasons.

OF Bob Oliver

Twins minor leaguer, 1.6 WAR over 3 seasons in KC.

OF Reggie Sanders

Veteran at the end of his career.

P Hoyt Wilhem

Hall of Fame reliever at the end of his career, was dealt before ever playing in KC.

DH Mike Sweeney

Oft-injured and expensive veteran.

P Dick Drago

Tigers farmhand would put up 13.6 WAR over 5 KC seasons.

P Jeremy Affeldt

Young replacement level reliever with electric stuff.

P Roger Nelson

Orioles reliever would become Royals starter and put up 8.1 WAR over 5 seasons.

P Ambriorix Burgos

Electric armed closer with a great rookie year, terrible 2006 season.

P Wally Bunker

Won 19 games at age 19, but was a reclamation project when KC acquired him; put up 4.4 WAR over 3 seasons.

P Elmer Dessens


Journeyman veteran swingman at replacement level.

P Mike Hedlund

Indians bonus baby; put up 4 WAR over 4 seasons in KC.

P Leo Nunez

Young replacement level reliever.

P Moe Drabowsky

33 year old veteran reliever; put up 3.9 WAR over 2 KC seasons.

P Joel Peralta

Young above replacement level reliever.

P Bill Butler


Tigers minor leaguer; 3.5 WAR over 3 seasons.

P Andy Sisco

2.3 WAR his rookie year, -1.2 in 2006.

P Tom Burgmeier

Journeyman minor leaguer; 1.9 WAR over 5 seasons in KC.

P Mike MacDougal

Former All-Star coming off a lousy 2005 season.

P Jim Rooker

Tigers minor leaguer; 1.7 WAR over 4 seasons.

Prospects Acquired Pre-1969

Prospects Acquired Pre-2007

P Lance Clemons, P Paul Splittorff, OF Dane Iorg

IF Mike Aviles, P Billy Buckner, 3B Billy Butler, OF Jarrod Dyson, P Zack Greinke, 3B Alex Gordon, P Luke Hochevar, P J.P. Howell, 1B Justin Huber

The expansion team had some assets. Wilhelm certainly still had trade value and was soon dealt for catcher Ed Kirkpatrick. Joe Foy still had a lot of trade value and was infamously sent to the Mets for Amos Otis. The Royals were able to scour the Tigers and Orioles organizations to get some decent pitchers - Drago, Nelson, Butler, Rooker). And Paul Splittorff was waiting in the wings to join the rotation someday.

In 2006 Dayton inherited a MLB team full of has-beens and never-weres. His relievers were perhaps his most tradeable assets, as he had some live arms - Affeldt, Burgos, Sisco, Nunez, Peralta. Mark Teahen and David DeJesus were both young enough to have decent trade value. And Dayton inherited a minor league system that was very thin, but had some young stars like Butler, Gordon, and Greinke.

Let's take a look at each process. I'm going to merge Dayton’s transactions for 2006 and 2007, since he was hired mid-season in 2006.

1969


2007


Record: 69-93

Record: 69-93

Pythag: 69-93

Pythag: 74-88

Notable Players Acquired:

· C Ed Kirkpatrick

· OF Lou Piniella

Notable Players Acquired:

· P Kyle Davies

· 1B Ross Gload

· 1B Ryan Shealy

· IF Jeff Keppinger

· SS Tony Pena Jr.

· OF Joey Gathright

· P Brian Bannister

· P Jorge de la Rosa

· P Joakim Soria

Notable Drafted/Signed Amateur Talent:

· OF Al Cowens

· P Doug Bird

Notable Drafted/Signed Amateur Talent:

· C Salvador Perez

· 3B Mike Moustakas

· OF David Lough

· P Danny Duffy

· P Greg Holland

1969 Royals General Manager Cedric Tallis immediately dealt his Hall of Fame reliever to the Angels for a bench player named Ed Kirkpatrick who would put up 9 WAR over five seasons in Kansas City. At the end of spring training he also picked up a player the Seattle Pilots were looking to cut – outfielder Lou Piniella. Tallis picked him up for a song, and Piniella rewarded his faith by winning Rookie of the Year and performing as a solid starter for five seasons.

Dayton Moore was quite busy in his first twelve months on the job, trading many of his bullpen assets like Andy Sisco, Ambriorix Burgos, J.P. Howell, Elmer Dessens, Jeremy Affeldt, and Octavio Dotel. In exchange, he received many young players looking for a chance to play but blocked in their organization – Brian Bannister, Joey Gathright, Kyle Davies, Ryan Shealy. It was a strategy not dissimilar to the one the early Royals had taken. Dayton also landed a gem in the Rule 5 draft in reliever Joakim Soria.

1970


2008


Record: 65-97

Record: 75-87

Pythag: 70-92

Pythag: 72-90

Notable Players Acquired:

· 2B Cookie Rojas

· OF Amos Otis

· P Ted Abernathy

· P Bruce Dal Canton

Notable Players Acquired:

· C Miguel Olivo

· C Brayan Pena

· IF Alberto Callaspo

· OF Jose Guillen

· P Ron Mahay

· P Ramon Ramirez

· P Brett Tomko

Notable Drafted/Signed Amateur Talent:

· 2B Frank White

· OF Tom Poquette

· OF Jim Wohlford

· P Greg Minton

Notable Drafted/Signed Amateur Talent:

· 1B Eric Hosmer

· IF Johnny Giavotella

· P John Lamb

· P Mike Montgomery

At this point, both General Managers began to infuse veterans into the ballclub. Cedric Tallis added 37 year old reliever Ted Abernathy to be his closer, and Phillies second baseman Cookie Rojas to stabilize his infield. Dayton Moore added free agents like Miguel Olivo and Jose Guillen and saw his team take a noticeable step forward. A winning season seemed to be within reach.

Tallis added one very notable young player, outfielder Amos Otis from the Mets. Acquired for third baseman Joe Foy, Otis had been a young spare outfielder in New York. In Kansas City, he would be a five-time All-Star and an integral component of their later division-winning ballclubs.

1971


2009


Record: 85-76

Record: 65-97

Pythag: 85-76

Pythag: 66-96

Notable Players Acquired:

· 1B Gail Hopkins

· SS Fred Patek

Notable Players Acquired:

· 1B Mike Jacobs

· SS Yuniesky Betancourt

· IF Willie Bloomquist

· OF Coco Crisp

· P John Bale

· P Bruce Chen

· P Juan Cruz

· P Kyle Farnsworth

Notable Drafted/Signed Amateur Talent:

· C John Wathan

· 3B George Brett

· P Steve Busby

· P Mark Littell

Notable Drafted/Signed Amateur Talent:

· OF Wil Myers

· P Aaron Crow

· P Louis Coleman

· P Chris Dwyer

· P Yordano Ventura

After a big jump in 2008, Dayton Moore’s club was seen as a dark horse contender in the division after trades for Coco Crisp and Mike Jacobs. The team instead was a huge flop, losing 97 games and finishing with the second-worst record in the league.

The 1971 Royals actually did take a step forward, winning 85 games and finishing second in the division. Had the current playoff format been in place, the Royals would have been the second Wild Card team. The pitching – much of which had been picked up in the expansion draft – was excellent that year. Dick Drago and Mike Hedlund headlined the rotation, but a 24-year old rookie drafted in 1968 named Paul Splittorff stepped in an contributed with a 2.68 ERA in 22 starts.

1972


2010


Record: 76-78

Record: 67-95

Pythag: 81-73

Pythag: 65-97

Notable Players Acquired:

· 1B John Mayberry

· OF Richie Scheinblum

Notable Players Acquired:

· OF Gregor Blanco

· P Tim Collins

· C Jason Kendall

· 2B Chris Getz

· IF Wilson Betimet

· OF Rick Ankiel

· OF Scott Podsednik

· P Luis Mendoza

Notable Drafted/Signed Amateur Talent:

· C Jamie Quirk

· SS U.L. Washington

· P Dennis Leonard

Notable Drafted/Signed Amateur Talent:

· IF Christian Colon

· 3B Cheslor Cuthbert

· OF Jorge Bonifacio

The 1972 Royals slumped from their successful 1971 season largely because the pitching regressed heavily. Tallis pulled one of his shrewdest trades acquiring Astros minor league power-hitting first baseman John Mayberry for reliever Jim York and minor leaguer Lance Clemons. Mayberry was blocked at first base in Houston once the Astros traded for Lee May. He would go on to club 143 home runs for the Royals with three 100-RBI seasons.

Meanwhile, Dayton’s Royals seemed to be treading water, adding cheap veterans as a stop gap until the minor leagues could develop any talent. The only notable trade he made was trading a pair of unproductive veterans - Kyle Farnsworth and Rick Ankiel – for a package of young fringe minor leaguers, including Tim Collins. While Tallis was still adding pieces to his championship club, Dayton was preaching patience and relying on his farm system.

1973


2011


Record: 88-74

Record: 71-91

Pythag: 81-81

Pythag: 78-84

Notable Players Acquired:

· IF Kurt Bevacqua

· OF Hal McRae

· P Gene Garber

· P Steve Mingori

· P Marty Pattin

Notable Players Acquired:

· SS Alcides Escobar

· P Jeff Francis

· OF Melky Cabrera

· OF Lorenzo Cain

· OF Jeff Francoeur

· P Jake Odorizzi

Notable Drafted/Signed Amateur Talent:

· OF Ruppert Jones

· P Bob McClure

Notable Drafted/Signed Amateur Talent:

· C Cameron Gallagher

· IF Adalberto Mondesi

· OF Elier Hernandez

· OF Bubba Starling

· P Kyle Smith

Tallis makes another significant trade in 1973, sending talented but oft-injured pitcher Roger Nelson, and light-hitting All-Star outfielder Richie Scheinblum to Cincinnati for an outfielder struggling to get playing time – Hal McRae. McRae was pretty lousy his first year in Kansas City, but the team still had the second-best offense in the league, led by Otis and Mayberry. The draft was also paying dividends as the rotation was anchored by Splittorff and a pitcher out of USC named Steve Busby. The team won 88 games, finishing second in the division. Had there been the current divisional alignment, the Royals would have won the Central Division.

Dayton made his most significant trade as well, sending Cy Young winner Zack Greinke to the Brewers for four players, including Alcides Escobar and Lorenzo Cain. He took flyers on a pair of young outfielders – Jeff Francoeur and Melky Cabrera. By this point in his tenure however, he had yet to draft a pitcher that made a Major League start unless you count Luke Hochevar.

1974


2012


Record: 77-85

Record: 72-90

Pythag: 82-80

Pythag: 74-88

Notable Players Acquired:

· 1B Tony Solaita

· OF Vada Pinson

· P Nelson Briles

· P Lindy McDaniel

Notable Players Acquired:

· P Jonathon Broxton

· P Jeremy Guthrie

· P J.C. Gutierrez

· P Jonathan Sanchez

Notable Drafted/Signed Amateur Talent:

· IF Luis Salazar

· OF Willie Wilson

Notable Drafted/Signed Amateur Talent:

· P Sam Selman

· P Kyle Zimmer

Tallis’ Royals were clearly in contention mode, picking up former All-Stars Vada Pinson and Lindy McDaniel as well as former 19-game winner Nellie Briles All were well past their prime, but still contributed above replacement level. The team was a bit unlucky, and the offense struggled as they patiently waited for a 21-year old rookie third basemen with a .676 OPS learn to hit. That rookie would be future Hall of Famer George Brett. (EDIT: The team was so disappointing to owner Ewing Kauffman, that he fired Tallis mid-season and replaced him with Joe Burke).

Dayton Moore’s team continued to struggle, infusing some of the talented hitters he had drafted like Eric Hosmer and Mike Moustakas into the lineup. While the bullpen was a bright spot, the rotation struggled mightily.

1975


2013


Record: 91-71

Record:

Pythag: 88-74

Pythag:

Notable Players Acquired:

· C Bob Stinson

· DH Harmon Killebrew

Notable Players Acquired:

· P Wade Davis

· C George Kottaras

· P Ervin Santana

· P James Shields

· IF Miguel Tejada

Notable Drafted/Signed Amateur Talent:

· OF Clint Hurdle

· P Rich Gale

· P Dan Quisenberry

Notable Drafted/Signed Amateur Talent

· 3B Hunter Dozier

· P Sean Manaea

Both clubs seemed to go “all-in” at this point. The 1975 Royals picked up future Hall of Famer Harmon Killebrew to serve as their designated hitter. The Killebrew acquisition didn’t work out, but the Royals managed to finish fifth in runs scored behind McRae, Brett and Mayberry, despite some significant holes in the lineup. Another former draft pick, Dennis Leonard, joined Busby and Splittorff to give the Royals one of the best young rotations in the league. The club won 91 games, finished second in the division, and would have won the Central Division had it existed at the time.

The 2013 Royals picked up frontline pitcher James Shields to anchor their rotation, along with Ervin Santana and Jeremy Guthrie. Their lineup consisted largely of young players drafted or acquired by Dayton Moore – Moustakas, Hosmer, Cain, Salvador Perez – although the two best hitters (Billy Butler and Alex Gordon) were holdovers from the Allard Baird years. The team was a dark horse contender again for the Central Division, but through two months, the results have been mixed.

So in seven seasons, Cedric Tallis and Joe Burke had three winning seasons (all of which would have been post-season berths under the current format) and just two 90-loss seasons. In six full seasons, Dayton has yet to have a winning season, and has only avoided 90 losses once.

By 1975, four players drafted by the Royals were regulars or semi-regulars - George Brett, Jim Wohlford, Frank White, and Al Cowens. Many others were young players acquired from other oragnizations - Fred Patek, John Mayberry, Amos Otis. Three pitchers in the rotation were drafted by the Royals - Busby, Leonard, and Splittorff.

By 2013, four players drafted by the Royals were regulars or semi-regulars - Eric Hosmer, Mike Moustakas, Salvador Perez and David Lough. Many others are young players acquired from other organizations - Lorenzo Cain, Alcides Escobar, Chris Getz. The Royals have not had a start this year from a pitcher they drafted.

Is it a completely fair comparison? Not exactly. Should Dayton Moore be much further along the process than he is? Absolutely.

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