The Atlanta Braves have had a hugely disappointing season by their standards. The one-time contender has dropped 31 of their last 49 games to fall below .500 and they will miss their first post-season since 2011. This has caused speculation that General Manager Frank Wren may be relieved of his duties at the end of the season. Wren has run the Braves since the end of the 2007 season, taking over from potential Hall of Fame executive John Schuerholz. This season will mark the fifth time in eight seasons his team has failed to make the playoffs.
So why are we talking about the Braves problems? Because of who they may target for their head job should Wren be let go.
The Braves would look at all their options to fill the general manager's position. But the most intriguing candidate appears to be Royals general manager Dayton Moore, who learned his craft while working for Braves president John Schuerholz from 1996-2006. Schuerholz was the club's GM throughout that span.
Moore has two years remaining on his contract and he has further endeared himself to Kansas City's ownership by taking the Royals to the brink of a postseason berth this year. But there would certainly be many members of the Braves organization pulling for the chance to work for Moore, whose people skills have been likened to those possessed by Schuerholz.
This raises two questions. First, would Dayton Moore really leave Kansas City for Atlanta? Just off the top of my head, it seems unusual for a General Manager to leave an existing job for another gig. This isn't college football. General Managers spend years building franchises, they don't jump ship because someone else makes a pass at them.
Dayton Moore is also a Kansas City guy. He grew up in nearby Wichita, and claims to have watched Game 7 of the 1985 World Series from the overpass on I-70. He has passed over on other General Manager jobs before because he was looking for the right situation, presumably a situation like Kansas City. He has spent over eight years building this team, and although he may have felt like he won the World Series last year, he hasn't taken the team to its destination yet. Will he feel there is unfinished business here?
The second question is, should we be concerned about Dayton Moore leaving? He has certainly been a lightning rod among fans. Despite leading the team to its greatest franchise success in nearly three decades, fans are wary of trusting "The Process" after it took eight long years to get to this point. Fans have also been concerned about the conservative nature of the administration in regards to its approach to statistical analysis. Character and "batting average with runners in scoring position" seem to trump more advanced metrics like UZR, wOBA, or WAR.
Still, he has finally brought this team on the verge of a post-season spot. He has built an impressive pitching staff, with some arms that should be here for a few years. The defense is world class. The position players are in the prime of their careers. Isn't that the kind of General Managers teams want to retain?
Sometimes one man's trash is another man's treasure. Dayton Moore and the Braves could be a match made in heaven, while Kansas City could benefit from someone who is better at assembling a Major League roster to take them to the next level. Dayton Moore should be applauded for taking the franchise to where it is today, but that does not entitle him to a pass for life. If Atlanta makes the job available and Dayton Moore decides to take it, Royals fans should thank him for his services and move on without shedding a tear.