To the local and national media,
Accountability is a word which often gets tossed around but is usually not honored, not unlike a truce in a game of Risk. Both are, on the surface, simple enough ideas; a truce is an agreement which is effected in order to bring about mutual gain, while accountability is the simple act of being held responsible for one's actions. Unfortunately, these ideals get pretty dirty very quickly--do you let it slide that your friend invaded Kamchatka or do you break or bend the truce by invading Brazil and teaching him a lesson? Likewise, when do you hold a general manager accountable for a failure to reach the playoffs and demand action in a constantly changing sports landscape?
That year is this year, media. Please.
Some have already called for Dayton Moore's job. Our former overlord Craig Brown called for Moore's firing last July. Kansas City did go on to have a fantastic second half and finished 86-76, their best record since before the college class of 2014 was even alive. They did not, however, make the playoffs, and the underlying reasons why Brown came to that conclusion still exist.
When Moore traded Wil Myers and co. for James Shields and Wade Davis in December 2012, he set an informal two-year timetable for himself, coinciding with the amount of time left on Shields' contract. They did not make the playoffs in 2013, Year 7 of Moore's reign. The 2014 Royals currently stand two games over .500 and apparently convene every few hours to decide what kind of team they'll be; their 10-game win streak has been followed by a putrid 1-6 stretch that coughed up their meager lead in first place. Their wild oscillation between great and horrible has obscured just how good this team is, so I'll refrain from predicting what will happen, but it is irrelevant.
It is now Year 8, media. It is up to you to call for Moore's firing if the Royals do not make the playoffs this year.
Yes, I know that the Royals are a weak-skinned organization. I know they won't be happy that you will call for Moore's head. They were even unhappy that the Star's new beat writer had the gall to point out that Alcides Escobar was the worst everyday hitter in baseball for 2013. But it's the right thing to do. It's the only thing to do.
Dayton Moore himself has espoused accountability, though his goalposts keep moving backwards. Regardless, we are clearly to the point where, by his own admission, he has run out of time:
2006: If you make enough good decisions, three-year plans turn into two-year plans and five-year plans turn into three-year plans. If you make bad decisions, 10-year plans turn into no plan.
2010: Our goal by 2013, 2014 is to have the majority of our 25-man roster be homegrown players. That’s what we’re shooting for, that’s been the long-term plan all along . . . Look what Colorado did, look what Minnesota did, look what the New York Yankees did. It took the Yankees seven years. Theycommitted to it in ’89, and finally in ’96 they won with homegrown guys. I’m not talking about getting to .500, I’m talking about winning the
World Series when I say eight to 10 years."
2013: "When I came here (in 2006)," he said, "I told everybody this: ‘You ask anybody in baseball, whether (fans) want to believe it or not, unless we’re going to be a big-market club and go out and spend on multiple free agents a year, it’s an eight-to-10-year process to get this thing in a position where you’re competing to go to playoffs.'
Last year, before I had the opportunity of being on the masthead, I wrote a fanpost about how long it took for general managers to turn around a team. I looked at every team since 1990 and noted each time they had a losing season. Then, I looked at when their next playoff appearance was, if it has even happened. Finally, I looked at any periods of time when there were 8+ years between a losing season and playoffs, as that seems to be what Moore is advocating, and noted how many general managers were employed by that team.
Essentially, most teams took between 4-6 years to get back to the playoffs after a losing season. Some of course took a shorter time; many of these teams were good teams already with a bad year or two. Some took longer; many of these teams employed a revolving door of general managers.
The most concerning fact, though? No general manager employed since 1990 lasted 8 seasons without producing at least one playoff berth. None.
Media, if this is unacceptable for 31 MLB teams (Expos!) for the past quarter century or so, why should it be acceptable here and now?
Since Moore's hiring in mid-2006, all four other teams in the AL Central have made the playoffs--the Indians, Tigers, and Twins at least twice. The worst part, though is that all four other AL Central teams made the playoffs within three (3) seasons after a losing one.
So, media, I hope you understand that this is an extraordinarily important season. If Dayton Moore brings playoff baseball to Kansas City after a 29-year drought, an event I am actively rooting for, he deserves all of the success and congratulations for it.
But if he doesn't? It's up to you, media, to put on the pressure. Real people are fans of this team, and we are sick of losing.