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Is Dayton Moore running out of rope?

Has the true upper limit of the budget been reached?

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

As the season approaches the trade deadline, we've all done some spelunking. We all want Dayton to search through that cave to find the Batman that will offer the Royals the most value as they slowly struggle toward the lake at the bottom of the cave. However, it's possible that Dayton's run right out of rope.

This is pure spelunkulation on my part, but I think Dayton's at the top of the budget. I don't think Mr. Glass will shatter in response to Dayton's platitudes to trade for David Price or some other expensive dude. Let's look at the trading transactions this season.

4/10/14 - Royals trade CF Gorkys Hernandez to the Chicago White Sox for cash considerations.

5/26/14 - Royals trade CF Melky Mesa and RHP P.J. Walters to the Toronto Blue Jays for cash considerations.

6/6/14 - Royals trade LHP Justin Marks to the Oakland Athletics for cash considerations.

6/25/14 - Royals trade RHP Cody Fassold to the Atlanta Braves for cash considerations.

6/30/14 - Royals trade LHP Donnie Joseph to the Miami Marlins for cash considerations.

Granted, as the trade deadline approaches, activity heats up. This could be related to just minor transaction business during the year, and cash considerations aren't much money. If I'm not mistaken, the requirements for cash considerations to be the return of a trade stipulate that the amount changing hands must be less than one million dollars. But it sure seems like Dayton's trying to gather cash assets in order to make an upgrade. Let's look at the players Dayton has acquired so far this season.

4/12/14 - Royals sign RHP Kameron Loe to a minor league contract.

4/14/14 - Royals sign LF Cory Scammell to a minor league contract.

4/15/14 - Royals sign RHP Casey Coleman to a minor league contract.

5/1/14 - Royals sign OF Mitch Maier to a minor league contract. Summer camp has its favorite camper back.

5/28/14 - Royals sign C Max Ramirez to a minor league contract.

6/30/14 - Royals sign OF Raul Ibanez.

7/4/14 - Royals sign SS Paul Janish to a minor league contract.

7/6/14 - Royals sign LHP Scott Downs.

7/8/14 - Royals sign LHP Joe Saunders to a minor league contract.

A bunch of minor league contracts and two major league contracts. Not inspiring, cash considerations considered. The rumors were that the Royals were looking to upgrade in the outfield and in the bullpen. They really found some off-the-beaten-path diversions by signing Ibanez and Downs to fill those holes.

Probably, those minor league signings were routine additions for depth. The Saunders signing doesn't feel like that, given his previous major league experience, but it was indeed a minor league contract. Regardless, there were holes. In order to fill these holes, Dayton had to sell off a bunch of players to cobble the money together for marginal upgrades. In Ibanez's case, maybe a downgrade. Notice that Dayton has not brought any players TO the team through trades. I find that curious. Mayhaps the Royals can't afford anyone on the trade market right now?

There are still 22 days left in this trading period, so it's possible that we haven't seen Dayton enact his master plan. Maybe Dayton's got some extra rope hanging around in his spelunkpack, and he's waiting for the right moment to use it. Dayton's got the minor league assets to make a trade; all it would take to get an impact player is for Mr. Glass to offer more rope.

Or Mr. Glass could cut the rope.