The Royals came off the All-Star Break with a nice series win over the AL Central leading Detroit Tigers. Nice, however, is not what Kansas City needs at this point. Spectacular is what they need. Stupendous would work as well. As we have detailed here and as others have on Twitter and other outlets, unprecedented is what the Royals need to get into the playoff hunt at this point.
We stumble into work this morning to find the Kansas City Royals in 10th place in the American League, 3rd place in the Central, seven games out of the division lead and nine games out of the second wild card spot. Yet the esteemed leadership of the organization remains steadfast in the belief this team is just a 15-5 away from being in it despite a supertanker of facts and history that would indicate otherwise.
It has been reported that the Texas Rangers inquired about Ervin Santana and were told he was 'not available'. Yes, the Ervin Santana whose value may have never been higher after a marvelous (the Royals need more of 'marvelous' too) outing on Friday night. Yes, the Ervin Santana who will be a free agent at the end of the season. The guy who will almost certainly get a multi-year deal in excess of what the Royals could or even should pay. Nope, unavailable.
The Rangers were reportedly (and it is the time of the year where we have to view all the 'reports' with a bit of skepticism) dangling Mike Olt, C.J. Edwards and Neil Ramirez in attempt to get Matt Garza from the Cubs. Olt is having an awful year, Edwards is in A ball and Ramirez is back in AA after a AAA flameout in the first half of 2012. It is not a great haul and apparently not enough to make the Cubs jump. They will, however, move Garza at some point this month, because the Cubs, who are two and one-half games worse than the Royals and sport the 11th best record in the NL, know they are done. It is much clearer for them, as they are 16 games out of the division lead, but it should be clear to the Royals as well.
Instead, Dayton Moore is going to wait too long to decide it is time to sell or jump too early at the end of the year. That's what he does and, in no small part, is the reason his tenure as general manager is (or at least should be) in question.
Without question, there are concerns with alienating the fan base by trading what is perceived to be one of your best players. It is also a real possibility that Dayton Moore would have some concern with alienating his boss by trading Santana as well.
However, a saavy general manager might at least consider moving a valuable asset for another valuable asset of a different type. Especially when he has a couple of pretty good young arms in AAA (Danny Duffy and/or Yordano Ventura) who you could at least try to sell as adequate replacements for Santana. Listen, a lot of us know that neither of those guys is going to be as good as Santana is this year, but they might be next year. If you can add a position player with talent at a position of weakness right now, might the gain outweigh the loss you suffer by essentially exchanging Santana for Duffy?
If the return for Santana is Mike Olt, I am not that excited. What if the return was Leoyns Martin? That is pure speculation based on nothing, not even actual logic, just a name to throw out. Don't get excited, don't get mad, don't quote 'plus we could throw in Clint Robinson'.
The point is, Dayton Moore should get off his high horse and not spout off that 'Ervin Santana is unavailable'. Even Dayton Moore has to know that a 2013 playoff run is contingent on a lot of luck and good breaks. He has to understand that his team is not and likely will not consistently score enough runs to reel off a streak of wins. If he truly believes that there is still hope, Moore has to gamble.
The gamble is that Duffy is good enough to replace Santana and whatever player (and I think to get anyone major league ready, if that is even possible, the trade would have to be one for one) he gets in a trade for Ervin will greatly aid the offense. Logic tells us that just that one move is not enough to push the Royals into the post-season hunt.
However, in the mind of Moore, he almost has to believe so. The most damning indictment of Dayton Moore's competence as a general manager might well be that he ends up standing pat this month. That would indicate to me a total lack of understanding of where his team is in comparison to the rest of the league.