KC Front Office Brass Huddle in Burlington… But Why???

Peter G. Aiken-USA TODAY Sports

BURLINGTON, N.C. — If you’ve been looking for KC Royals General Manager Dayton Moore or Vice President of Player Personnel J.J. Picollo, they’ve been spotted 1,016 miles southeast of Kansas City at the home of one of KC’s three rookie affiliates.

As a local Burlington Royals fan, I’m glad to see such high-level interest in one of the lowest teams in KC’s farm organization. Like our local newspaper, I’m curious about the agenda of a four-day visit (so far). Moore hasn’t visited here in eight or nine years, and it would seem like he and Picollo would have other things to worry about given the current state of the mother team.

Here are my top five theories:

  1. They’re here for the weather. With temperatures in the mid to upper 90s and humidity rivaling a Finnish sauna, this one seems easy enough to rule out.

  2. They’re here to help Burlington out of its 0-6 start in the Appalachian League. This one was starting to get me excited. But our local newspaper already asked. Apparently not.

  3. Burlington is a great place to do business. The gravel parking lot and cramped, musty cinder-block office building at the Burlington Athletic Stadium might be a realistic reflection of the current state of KC finances, but it hardly seems like the ideal place to work out a solution to being dead last in the AL Central.

    I suppose they could take their meetings over to the Country Inn & Suites where the local team puts up its players. As budget hotels go, this is a good one, but hardly the venue where you’d expect to hash out a major trade. We don’t have any five-star hotels or resorts in Burlington. Don’t get me wrong. I love Burlington, but I’m trying to be realistic.

  4. The Royals are looking to upgrade Burlington to single A. This would be a dream come true for me and a lot of people here. However, with the trade deadline just over a month away and the kind of pressure KC’s front office is under right now, it seems like odd timing for such high-level meetings on something that would have no direct impact in the short term. Also keep in mind that Picollo is head of "player personnel," not "operations" or "player development."

  5. We’ve got a top prospect that Moore and Picollo want to see up close and maybe trade. Our top prospect is Jeison Guzman, who looks pretty good in Burlington but didn’t perform all that well at single A Lexington. We have a few others that have shown potential, but it’s years too early to tell.

    Unless… it has something to do with the return of 2015 first-round pick Ashe Russell who took a break from baseball. The right-handed pitcher is listed on Burlington’s roster under "reserve" status. He pitched 36.1 innings in Burlington in 2015 for a 4.21 ERA. If Russell is here, they’ve done a great job of keeping him hidden. In any case, it’s Dollar Monday. If Russell is on the mound at 7 p.m., it could be the value of a lifetime.

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