Kansas City Royals General Manager, Dayton Moore, has a legacy of two parts. The first part could not possibly be more obvious: Moore and his team built a championship team out of nothing. People like to think that their team was the true underdog from nothing all the time, but Moore truly did construct his success out of nothing. Moore was offered the position in the summer of 2006, and the Royals were such a laughingstock that, according to Moore in his book More Than a Season, “an overwhelming majority of people I spoke with advised against taking the job.” Among some of the words of advice he heard were “you can’t win in Kansas City” and “it’s a professional graveyard.”
Moore oversaw a total reconstruction, re-evaluation, and renewed focus of the entire organization. He and his team were rewarded for their hard work with a 2014 American League Championship and a 2015 World Series Championship.
In More Than a Season, Moore constantly writes about culture and integrity, about the holistic health of the organization and its employees, and about the importance of community. Perhaps Moore’s biggest success is getting Kansas City to care about baseball again. It was a monumental, titanic task to accomplish, but he did.
The second part of Moore’s legacy will become more clear as time goes on, but it best represents itself as a single question: is Moore even up to the task of another rebuild? Can he do it? That the question is even being asked is a product of his many recent misfires. His drafting and developing has been a total mess for almost a decade. The Royals should have been able to compete at a high level for longer. Many of his recent trades and signings have been simply awful.
And 2018 is Moore’s 12th as GM. Assuming this team finishes under .500 by at least a game (seems reasonable at this point) and misses the playoffs, the Royals will have only made the playoffs twice and will only have finished with a winning season three times. For reference, every other American League Central team has had at least four winning seasons in that time, and among the other AL Central teams only the Chicago White Sox lack at least three playoff appearances.
It is silly to wave away the significant good that Moore has done to the Kansas City Royals as ‘lucky.’ Yes, playoffs are famously volatile, and the Royals were just a few outs away from quick exits in both 2014 and 2015, two quick exits that would have changed how we view the franchise immensely. But we don’t get to decide which things happened and which things shouldn’t. Those playoff runs happened. That matters.
But it is equally silly to forever absolve Moore of any management sins because of what he did for the franchise. There’s a reason why so many coaches and front office executives are fired, ‘resign,’ ‘promoted,’ or retire. Each rebuild and roster construction is different, and sometimes you just can’t catch lightning in a bottle twice. Moore’s recent work has been thoroughly underwhelming, and we ought not to assume things will work out like they once did. That’s how franchises fall into disrepair in the first place: by doing what they always did, even when evidence tells them it’s not working, because it used to work.
So how long of a grace period should Moore get? If you’re reading this hoping for an answer, I don’t have one for you. The rebuild ought to be much faster this time. I know that much.
All I know is that time changes perspective. Before this season, the Royals had completed a five-year stretch with an AL title, a World Series title, and five consecutive years of at least 80 wins. The more the Royals lose and the further away 2015 gets, those good times will seem further and further away.
So how long of a grace period should Moore get? It’s a question worth asking ourselves.
How long ought the rebuild to take before you doubt the front office?
This poll is closed
1-3 years (contention by 2021)
3-5 years (contention by 2023)
5-7 years (contention by 2025)
Moore deserves benefit of the doubt forever