I feel it's safe to say that if the Royals are unable to put up at least close to the same numbers they did last season, the 2014 season will be a prolific failure.
Should they not make it to at least game 163 to compete for the WC, it will be a failure in my mind.
Should they not make it to at least an actual playoff series, it will at least be (in a small way) a failure.
That said, where will we put the blame, should the Royals have a failure of a season.
Should the roster stay as it is today, you can put me down for the Royals having an under .500 season (unless Ventura is able to put up ROY numbers or close to it).
Should the roster not change, the blame will rest solely on Moore and/or Glass. If you field a team with Vargas and Guthrie being your second best pitchers in the rotation, you cannot expect to compete.
Should the Royals manage to sign another FA starter (something that I feel is extremely unlikely after the lackluster re-signing of Chen), someone that we can at least reasonably hope will put up similar numbers to Santana last year, then, at least in my mind, the blame will rest either on Yost, or the players themselves.
This is a very important distinction. In past seasons, it's been fairly easy to not blame the players, or Yost to a lesser extent, for the teams repeated failure. When you have the likes of Getz and Fenchy, and in previous years starting position players like Betancourt, Callaspo and Guillen, it's fairly obvious you are not going to reasonably expect to compete.
We're now neck deep in Moore's "process", and the blame to this point should rest on him and ownership for the abysmal seasons in recent years.
And, going into this off season, we all knew the needs.
We desperately needed someone for 2B. So, GMDM goes out and signs likely the second best FA second baseman on the market. Did he sign for too many years? Sure. But he saw the need, he filled the need.
I, personally, felt like RF wasn't terrible with a Maxwell/Lough platoon of some form, and I think it's arguable that Aoki is a huge upgrade. That said, Aoki seems to have more upside potential. Either way, DM felt we needed a lead off hitter, to push Gordon back in the lineup. He got what is traditionally considered a lead off hitter (I know many tools show Butler would be an ideal lead off man, and arguments can be made for other players), and, in a strange turn of events, both of these acquisitions seemed to have one thing in common. They got on base.
We needed some sort of insurance for Moose. Sure, they say he's not going to be platooned, but there's a VERY implied "wink-wink" in that statement. So, what does he do? He goes out and gets a third-baseman who demolishes left handed pitching.
We also needed someone to replace Santana's production, or to bring Santana back.
That, as we all know, is where to this point he has fallen short.
The offense is upgraded, the defense is likely to be as good or better than last season (and even if it regresses a lot, it will still likely rank in the top third of all of baseball). The bullpen may regress, but with relief pitching being so unpredictable, there really was little that could be done to improve upon what we already have available.
Our rotation is, as of this posting:
There are a lot of players fighting for the #5 spot, and usually this could be seen as a good thing.
However, when the battle is between a pitcher who has three ML starts and likely needs further work in AAA, and several guys who are likely to battle to see who is the least-sucky (Hoch, Davis, Penny and Chen), it can be problematic. It is made ESPECIALLY problematic when Duffy isn't a lock to be even average, and Guthrie and Vargas are about the definition of average, and are likely to start regressing.
So, we circle back to the point of this article. Should the Royals fail to make the post season this year, who are we to blame?
As it stands now, I believe that blame belongs with GMDM and Glass.
Should a miracle happen, and Moore says to himself, "Hey. I've got three long relief/#6 starters on my roster who are all making far too much for what they're worth. Maybe I can trade one for a bag of baseballs, and then use THAT money to pursue one of the remaining starters. I might be able to sell that to Dave... Maybe...", then I will say his off season filled all the gaping holes, and that he has done his job.
I don't know if I could survive actually saying out loud that Dayton Moore had done his job well, but it's a bullet I'm willing to bite, should the time come.