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Game 52- Mariners 4, Royals 0 (13-39) And More on Moore

Getting two-hit, complete-game shutout, by 40-something Jaime Moyer? In 93 pitches? Yea, it happened Friday night, ruining a decent start by Bobby Keppel (2.70 ERA) and a nice relief inning from Joel Peralta. Ho-hum, the train keeps rolling, and the Royals still sit on 13 wins. In all honesty, its hard to pick on the team at this point, the New York-to-Oakland-to-Seattle run isn't one even the Bandit could make with ease.

One the other hand, or, returning to the first one, as it were, two hits and a walk isn't exactly the recipe for a redemptive "tough loss" kind of post-game reaction either. Even more incredibly, our boys managed three GIDPs, including two by Berroa. The really heartening news is that Bell gave Minky the night's duty in the 7-hole, slotting in Sanders in the 3-spot. This is a good thing. A very good thing.

Side note: Remind me, at some point I've gotta write-up a retrospective honoring the Royal career of Raul Ibanez. He's now hitting .316/.395/.456 against his former team.

Anyway, the game seemingly ended before I even knew it began, and this from a guy summering on the East Coast... Ohh well, one too many glasses of Pimm's will do that.

Maybe Moore'll Bring Me Back??


Down in the comments to an earlier post, member "Joezdeb" had some pretty harsh words for yours truly:

So let me get this straight... You really know nothing about the man. And yet it's time to already start shoveling dirt on his grave...
Who do you think the Royals should have picked as Baird's successor?
And when haven't the Royals paid "top dollar" for their No. 1 picks?
Anyone? Anyone?
What do you suggest is the reason for Atlanta's 14 straight division titles?
Did you want to the Royals to hire a someone who bases all of his decisions on sabremetrics?
The truth is the A's still have scouts.
I'd like to have a blend and the truth is we don't know what he is.
Does it mean anything that the Boston Red Sox wanted him as GM. Or the Arizona Diamondbacks?
Actually Moore doesn't scout any more. He isn't Scotty McScout. He lets the people below him scout and then he makes the decisions, which is what a GM is supposed.
How do you wake up in the morning with your pessimistic drivel?
Please tell us: If given control (which Moore believes he has), who would you have picked as KC's new GM?
There's some fairly valid critiques in there, alongside some things I don't think are quite on the mark. Moving from the general to the specific, a brief response:

#1) You are right, Joezdeb, at times I'm much too negative about this organization, this team, these people, etc. Point well taken.

#1A) Similarly, we don't know about Moore yet, don't really know anything at all. I've posted this sentiment in fact, writing on the day of the hiring, "As for Dayton Moore, who knows? We've seen supposed "Moneyball" guys turn old school when handed the keys, and we've seen old dogs learn new tricks." Again, this is something we all have to keep in mind. Honestly, I whole-heartedly agree with you that we need a blend of scouting and stats. I wrote on Thursday June 1,

"What the Royals really need is intellectual flexibility and a multi-faceted plan that incorporates every conceivable angle. With every dynasty, the underlings that fail in new jobs are those that merely mimic (these seem to be the most media savvy, and generally liked for some reason) and stubbornly insist on "doing it like we did it in X" etc. Those that succeed take the best of what they learned under X, and adapt to the ever changing game and landscape, as well as the unique constraints of the current place. Remember this: the Royals can't be the Braves, hell, for the last 5 years, the Braves haven't even been able to be the Braves, as their revenues/access to revenues has declined. I know nothing about Moore, no one does, its like one of the central messages of The Red Badge of Courage, you don't know how you'll react until you get there."

#2) The issue, and this has been happening on a much larger scale since Moneyball was released, is not the hiring itself, but how its interpretated in the media. Its not about "scouts versus stats" except to the guys who insist that it is. At the moment, this includes many who are celebrating the Moore hire. Just to editorialize a bit, but it seems logical to me that this false division means much much more to the community currently in power: the scouts. Obviously they have much more to lose, because they have 90% of the access, employment and everything else. It benefits them to whisper to the local scribes about these nerdy guys who "think they know baseball from a spreadsheet" (laugh laugh). And so it goes. Still, those of us in the stathead, seamhead, saber community (whatever you wanna call it) do lash out at times, as I clearly did with the "Scouty McScout" jab. It was petty. Granted. Still, why is one side's teasing more acceptable than the other? Finally though, I did write on May 27th, "And by the way, it was never about "scouts versus stats" but who's listening at this point anyway." Indeed, who is listening?

#3: As many have said, Moore is/was a highly sought-after guy. Even is Moore does become another Dean Taylor, it will still stand as a remarkable achievement that Glass convinced Moore to take the job. Since you asked, I'd have taken a shot a Paul DePodesta, even though thats fairly typical and unrealistic. I also think a guy like Larry Dierker (though he's old) might have been worth a look, or someone like Steve Stone (yes, the TV guy). Look, to put it plainly, I'm not sure how asking me who I would have hired is an answer to my agnosticism regarding Moore's ability. To be honest, I didn't think too much about the GM search, considering that I don't own the Royals, don't know anyone "inside" the game, and didn't hire a professional search firm to help me out.

#4: You write, "And when haven't the Royals paid "top dollar" for their No. 1 picks?" I guess at one level, you are right, they all eventually signed, so they were all paid for. The Royals scared us silly, but eventually took Gordon last season. Still, the Royals' track record of cheapness in the Draft, including, yes, scouting, is well-known and well-documented. Finally though, I'm not sure what the point of this argument is: we're supposed to be starting a new day, right? Hopefully, Glass will fully support Moore, which means giving him a workable budget and not having his son treat a MLB franchise like the Customer Service Desk at the the Carbondale Wal-Mart.

#5: You ask, "What do you suggest is the reason for Atlanta's 14 straight division titles?" Do you think it could possibly be one thing? This is the same franchise that traded for Fred McGriff, traded for J.D. Drew, brought in Gary Sheffield, etc. Again, as I wrote above, they've actually done it at least three different ways: with young pitching talent and hired vet bats (Sid Bream anyone?), with expensive pitching (including non-homegrown Maddox, Neagle, etc) and young hitting talent (the Jones boys), and lastly, alot of smoke-and-mirros in a bumbled division. The important thing is, they've been flexible, and they've had a coaching staff that, allegedly has been able to turn stone into gold (aka Leo Mazzone).

One last thing, the Braves have paid the price too. Remember, our Royals have developed some studs (when was the last Brave pitching prospect that made it big, btw?) like Beltran, Damon, Sweeney, and DeJesus. The Braves resigned Jones, we let Beltran go. The Braves resigned the other Jones, we let Damon go. And so on, and so forth.

But in sum, I'll restate what I've said before. We don't need "the Braves Way", we don't need "the Oakland Way", we need "the Royals Way". The fact of the matter is, for me at least, the core message of Moneyball isn't that scouts are fat or that stats are cool, but that when you've only got $30 million dollars, you've gotta adapt to that. Beane doesn't think walks are morally superior to singles, or to steals, or whatever. But he did see what the market overpayed and underpayed for, and tried to exploit it. As Lewis does a great job showing, he went against his own background as a player to build something new. In Kansas City, Moore will be much much closer to Oakland's financial situation that Atlanta's. He can't say, "Dammit, I want 5-tools guys and pitchers with 4 out-pitches and thats the 'right way'" and expect to win, because we've already had Carlos Beltran, and he's probably not coming through the system again. He's gotta find what the market doesn't see, what the other team's don't want, especially at the Major League level, because even if we do assume we'll have three young studs coming up ever year, he'll still have to build a pitching staff and fill out the lineup.

But yes, in good faith, we should continue to hope.

(I won't quit complaining about the stupid stuff though... Never)