Progress?

Kyle Rivas

The Royals were a mess in the summer of 2006, how far has Dayton Moore brought Kansas City since then?

Dayton Moore became the General Manager of the Kansas City Royals on June 8, 2006, inheriting one of the worst franchises in baseball. Historically speaking, of course, the Royals were not the worst and had been viewed as a model franchise as late as the early 1990s. By 2006, however, the Royals were on their way to a third consecutive 100 loss season: they were simply awful.

On the day of Moore's hiring, the Royals beat Texas 16-12, scoring 6 runs in the bottom of the seventh inning. The come from behind win pushed Buddy Bell's squad to a record of 15-43. The lineup that day:

  • David DeJesus CF
  • Mark Grudzielanek 2B
  • Doug Mientkiewicz 1B
  • Reggie Sanders RF
  • Matt Stairs DH
  • Emil Brown LF
  • Mark Teahen 3B
  • Angel Berroa SS
  • John Buck C

Kyle Snyder was the starting pitcher followed out of the pen by Jeremy Affeldt, Andy Sisco, Elmer Dessens and Ambiriox Burgos. This was the year Mark Redman was an All-Star. The 24 position players utilized that season had an average age of 29.6 and the 31 pitchers an average age of 27.9.

Alex Gordon was the organization's number one prospect and was joined on the AA Wichita Wranglers roster by Billy Butler, Zack Greinke, Mitch Maier, Chris Lubanski, Billy Buckner (not that one, the other one) and Ryan Braun (not that one, the other one). Angel Sanchez was on that team and Kila Ka'aihue, well before he became the focus of great debate. The plan was for this group of mostly first round picks to play together, win together and come to the major leagues together to lead the Royals back to respectability. Sound a little familiar?

The payroll - this according to Baseball Reference and might not be 100% accurate - of the major league club that year was $47 million. They scored 757 runs, allowed 971 and finished 62-100.

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One year later, the Royals defeated Philadelphia in Kaufman by the score of 8-4 to improve to 23-38. Scott Elarton made the start, doing a very Scott-like job of allowing 4 runs in 5 innings, and was relieved by Joel Peralta, David Riske, Jimmy Gobble, Joakim Soria and Octavio Dotel. The lineup that evening:

  • David DeJesus CF
  • Mark Grudzielanek 2B
  • Mark Teahen RF
  • Mike Sweeney DH
  • Alex Gordon 3B
  • Ryan Shealy 1B
  • Jason LaRue C
  • Tony Pena Jr. SS
  • Joey Gathright LF
John Buck was actually the full time catcher that year, Billy Butler would play in 92 games, Emil Brown in 113 and Esteban German in 121 (!). Ross Gload would play more games at first base than anyone else on the roster. Gil Meche was the big free agent signing that year and was very good. Brian Bannister acquired for Burgos had a good season as well and Zack Greinke spent most of the year as a reliever.

Alex Gordon was the off-season number one prospect again, followed by Luke Hochevar, Butler, Lubanski and then Tyler Lumsden.

The Royals would use 23 pitchers with an average age of 27.1 and 22 position players with an average age of 28. Their major league payroll was $67 million. The team would score 708 runs while giving up 778 on their way to a 69-93 finish under manager Buddy Bell.

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June 8, 2008 saw the Royals drop to 24-38 as they lost in New York 6-3. Zack Greinke started, but did not make it out of the sixth inning. He was relieved by Ron Mahay, Jimmy Gobble and Jeff Fulchino. The lineup:
  • David DeJesus LF
  • Mark Grudzielanek 2B
  • Mark Teahen RF
  • Jose Guillen DH
  • Alex Gordon 3B
  • Miguel Olivo C
  • Ross Gload 1B
  • Mike Aviles SS
  • Joey Gathright CF
Billy Butler would play 124 games this year, while John Buck shared the catching duties with Olivo. Greinke was very good and on the verge of greatness and Gil Meche was good once again. The rest of the starting rotation was iffy as Bannister and Luke Hochevar were inconsistent, with Kyle Davies (yes Kyle Freaking Davies) the third best starter. The bullpen with Soria, Ramon Ramirez, the then known as Leo Nunez and Ron Mahay was very good.

The top prospect was Mike Moustakas, followed by Daniel Cortes. Danny Duffy was on Baseball America's list at number five and Derrick Robinson at number two. A little known draft pick from Moore's first official draft, Greg Holland, did not make the top ten.

This was the Trey Hillman team that went 18-8 in September to post the highest win total of the Dayton Moore era: 75. They would score 691 runs and allow 781 with a payroll of $59 million. The average age of the 19 position players was once again 28. The average age of the 24 pitchers was 27.6.

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The Royals did not play on the 8th of June in 2009, but on the following day they 8-4 to the Indians to fall to 24-33. Brian Bannister started, pitched poorly and was relieved by John Bale, Juan Cruz, Jamey Wright and Roman Colon. The lineup:
  • Coco Crisp CF
  • David DeJesus LF
  • Billy Butler 1B
  • Jose Guillen RF
  • Mike Jacobs DH
  • Alberto Callaspo 2B
  • Mark Teahen 3B
  • Miguel Olivo C
  • Willie Bloomquist SS
Alex Gordon was hurt or in AAA most that year. Mike Aviles was hurt, Gil Meche would get hurt, Coco Crisp would miss most of the season after this game, Mitch Maier would play in 127 games, Yuniesky Betancourt was acquired to stand at short and hit a home run on occasion. Zack Greinke would win the Cy Young and Joakim Soria was one of the better closers in the game. In between those two, however, was virtually no competent pitching.

Moustakas was the number one prospect again, followed by Eric Hosmer, Daniel Cortes (traded for Yuni), Mike Montgomery, Tim Melville and Danny Duffy. The best farm system in the history of whatever was just about to come into being.

Twenty position players would average 27.6 years of age, while the 23 pitchers would average 28.4 years of age. With a payroll of $76 million, the Royals would score 686 runs and allow 842 on their way to a disappointing 65-97 finish.

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The Royals were 24-35 after dropping a 7-3 decision to the Twins on June 8, 2010. Zack Greinke took the loss, dropping to 1-8, and was relieved by Kanekoa Texeira, Victor Marte and Dusty Hughes. The lineup that day:
  • Scott Podsednik LF
  • Jason Kendall C
  • David DeJesus RF
  • Billy Butler 1B
  • Jose Guillen DH
  • Alberto Callaspo 3B
  • Mike Aviles 2B
  • Mitch Maier CF
  • Yuni Betancourt SS
Alex Gordon would spend more time in AAA and return as an outfielder during this season. Chris Getz and Wilson Betemit were around, so was Rick Ankiel and Kyle Farnsworth. This was a hard team to love.

However, everyone was raving about the farm system. The top ten prospects that year were: Mike Montgomery, Aaron Crow, Wil Myers, Mike Moustakas, Eric Hosmer, Tim Melville, John Lamb, Danny Duffy, Chris Dwyer and David Lough.

With a payroll of $71 million, the Royals would finish 67-95: scoring 676 runs and allowing 845. The average age of the 21 position players was 28.9 and the average age of the 25 pitchers was 27.5.

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A late Royals rally fell short on June 8, 2011 and Kansas City lost 9-8 to Toronto to fall to 26-36. Danny Duffy started and was followed by Nathan Adcock, Everett Teaford and Greg Holland. The lineup:
  • Alex Gordon LF
  • Melky Cabrera CF
  • Eric Hosmer 1B
  • Jeff Francoeur RF
  • Billy Butler DH
  • Wilson Betemit 3B
  • Chris Getz 2B
  • Brayan Pena C
  • Alcides Escobar SS
This was the post-Greinke trade/outfielder reclamation year. Mike Moustakas would come up to play 89 games that summer. Also getting a look later on were Johnny Giavotella, Salvador Perez and just a touch of Jarrod Dyson and Lorenzo Cain. The rotation, at times, included Felipe Paulino and Duffy, but also had Hochevar, Bruce Chen and Jeff Francis. While Joakim Soria was not his usual self, the bullpen had some very familiar and effective pitchers in Tim Collins, Greg Holland, Aaron Crow and Louis Coleman.

This was, obviously, the best farm system in the history of whatever, headed by Hosmer, Myers and Moustakas and most of the names listed in 2010. Christian Colon was in the top ten as was Brett Eibner - go figure.

This team scored 730 runs and gave up 762. Despite finishing 71-91, this was an interesting group with a bunch of hope. The 20 position players average an age of just 25.8, while the 22 pitchers (no, I am not counting Mitch) averaged 26.7 years of age. As a very young team, the payroll was just $32 million.

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Last season, the Royals lost an inter-league game to Pittsburgh on June 8th, falling to 24-32. Luke Hochevar started, Tim Collins and Louis Coleman relieved. The lineup:

  • Alex Gordon LF
  • Yuni Betancourt 2B
  • Billy Butler 1B
  • Mike Moustakas 3B
  • Jeff Francoeur CF
  • Eric Hosmer RF
  • Alcides Escobar SS
  • Humberto Quintero C
  • Luke Hochevar P
Besides the bizarre defensive alignment, this game included a super rare Clint Robinson major league at-bat. Salvador Perez and Lorenzo Cain both missed the first half of the season due to injury and Chris Getz missed the last half. In their absence we saw a lot of Giavotella, Jarrod Dyson and Quintero. Danny Duffy and Felipe Paulino both went under the knife and Jonathan Sanchez made us think that Juan Gonzalez gave a crap. Luckily, Moore shipped Sanchez off for Jeremy Guthrie, who was quite good: giving the Royals one actual major league starter. The bullpen, with or without Jonathan Broxton, featured Holland, Crow, Collins and Coleman and added Kelvin Herrera.

Baseball America still believe in Mike Montgomery back then, rating him as the organization's number one prospect. He was followed by Bubba Starling, Wil Myers, Jake Odorizzi and Cheslor Cuthbert. A kid named Yordano Ventura cracked the top ten that year.

The Royals managed just 676 runs in 2012 and allowed 746 on their way to a 72-90 finish. The 22 position players were an average of 26.1 years old and the 24 pitchers (no, Mitch not included again) were 27.7 years of age.

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This June 8th, the Royals beat Houston to climb back to 27-32 on the season. That's right, Dayton Moore has never had a winning team on the anniversary of his hire. Ervin Santana (credit to Moore on that pick-up) went seven innings and the Royals went to J.C. Gutierrez (the last guy in the pen) to clean up the last two innings. The lineup:
  • David Lough LF
  • Alcides Escobar SS
  • Salvador Perez C
  • Billy Butler DH
  • Eric Hosmer 1B
  • Lorenzo Cain CF
  • Miguel Tejeda 3B
  • Jeff Francoeur RF
  • Elliot Johnson 2B
Obviously, two regulars - Gordon and Moustakas - were out of the lineup that night. We all know that the pitching is dramatically better with a much improved starting rotation and the same good bullpen.

The Royals traded their number one and four overall minor league prospects to make that pitching better, leaving Kyle Zimmer, Bubba Starling and Yordano Ventura as the top three remaining prospects. Adalberto Mondesi is likely the prize of the organization at this point.

Baseball Reference has the current major league payroll at $64 million, but Cot's has the total payroll at a more accurate $81 million. This team is currently on a pace to score just 632 runs and allow just 615. It would be the first positive run differential under Dayton Moore's watch. The 15 position players currently used average 26.8 years old, while the 14 pitchers average an age of 29.5

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Certainly and without question, the Kansas City Royals are a better team and a better organization than they were back in 2006. That, however, is not the real question. Are they enough better? Has Dayton Moore, after seven years on the job, really pushed this team far enough forward to deserve praise....or another year of employment?

The Royals were not the worst team in the American League back in 2006. Tampa lost 101 games that season, one more than Kansas City. The only other team to lose 90 or more was Baltimore.

Of course, it's a process right?
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