Dayton Moore addressed the trade deadline and the future of the ballclub in his weekly appearance with Bob Fescoe on 610 Sports Radio, and offered some insight into how he sees things unfolding for the Royals.
Most notably, he was unusually blunt about Adalberto Mondesi’s role with club going forward, saying that he had to build a roster with the assumption that the oft-injured shortstop would be unable to play a full workload, telling Fescoe, “we’re going to expect him to be healthy, we’re going to be positive about that, but he’s proven he hasn’t been able to do that.”
Moore was quick to point out that there would be a role for Mondesi on the team, saying “we’re not going to release him, we’re going to continue to stay with him, obviously.” But he added, “we’ve got to make sure we put that roster together in a way that protects us.” The means managing his workload, with the expectation that any production they get from Mondesi would be a bonus. “We can’t count on him as an everyday player,” continued Moore.
Dayton Moore asked by @bobfescoe if he can count on Mondesi in 2022.— Josh Vernier (@JoshVernier610) August 2, 2021
"No. You can't. ... We're learning that we're going to have to manage his workloads in ways that he may not be a guy that plays more than 100 games. ... We can't count on him as an everyday player." #Royals
Mondesi has appeared in just ten games this year, missing time with separate hamstring and oblique injuries this year. He has yet to appear in over 102 games in a MLB season, although he only missed one game in the shortened 2020 season.
The emergence of Nicky Lopez this year would allow the Royals to ease Mondesi’s workload when he returns. The 26-year old Lopez has hit .278/.356/.355 this year in 94 games and is tenth in baseball in WAR among shortstops, according to Fangraphs.
Moore also talked a bit about the trade deadline, making it sound like he was open to some more deals, but was expecting better offers.
“We were expecting a club or two to be really aggressive at the end with some of our players that were not on expiring contracts....we were fully expecting someone to come hard at some of our guys.”
He mentioned the Cubs as a team that flooded the market, with buyers going with their players instead. Reading between the lines, it seems likely that Moore was looking to move first baseman Carlos Santana, but with Anthony Rizzo also on the market, the Royals were not getting the offers they wanted.
Moore also confirmed that Danny Duffy was open to a trade so long as he stayed on the West Coast. He said that due to Duffy’s injury, “there certainly was not a lot of takers.” He also mentioned that the Jorge Soler trade to Atlanta came together rather quickly at the last minute.
As for the team on the field, Moore was not pleased with where the Royals are in the standings, telling Fescoe “I’ve been extremely disappointed in our win-loss record.” But he remained committed to the process, indicating the team will not make a lot of changes.
“There’s not a ton that you’re going to need to do, at least on paper. We’ll do our best to improve the bullpen and depth in the bullpen, we’re going to expect some of our young starters to continue to evolve and get better. We’re going to hopefully transition a position player or two into this lineup next year. We’re going to get a little bit younger, we’re going to have a little bit more speed on this team. We’re going to expect the veterans like Whit Merrifield and Carlos Santana and Salvador Perez and Hunter Dozier to be better and stay consistent and keep things in balance.”
Staying the course shows a tremendous amount of faith in the players currently in the organization, but it also puts a lot of pressure to contend next year. The team has flopped this year, but the Royals believe things will get better. We’ll see if that faith is justified.