Fire Dayton Moore

Fire Dayton Moore
It's time.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Random Royals Rumblings


David Price was 2 months, 1 day old when the Royals won the 1985 World Series. Since then, Price has appeared in eight more postseason games himself than the Royals as a franchise. I don't think the Royals and "bandwagon" begin to belong in the same sentence.

This isn't the first time Price has felt the need to comment on fan behavior. And his Tweet said nothing about former teammate James Shields turning the Royals into a winner, which I find telling.

2. SI columnist Joe Sheehan posted 10 Predictions for the coming MLB season. Prediction No. 5 basically falls in line with popular belief, although he's a bit more generous, referring to Shields as a No. 2 starter.

Of course, there are still fans out there who believe calling it like you see it is "hating" and adding Shields, Wade Davis, Jeremy Guthrie and Ervin Santana are significant moves (and a likely improved Detroit Tigers team and well-run Chicago White Sox club make for a "weak ass" division.

It's OK, though. I was once like commenter Dan Smith. I, too, once used Chiefs pictures as my avatar.

Fire Dayton Moore

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Not exactly easy listening Pt. III

Baseball Prospectus' Effectively Wild podcast struck again last week. The episode topic is the Cubs' signing of Edwin Jackson (who went for $13 million per, which I predicted), but midway through they bring the Royals into the discussion.

In short, they applaud the Cubs for their acquisitions of Jackson, Scott Feldman and Scott Baker on the cheap while the Royals took on three big/bad contracts (James Shields, Jeremy Guthrie and Ervin Santana) and gave up Wil Myers on top of it.

Don't worry, I already plan on tracking the Cubs' new trio of pitchers compared to Shields, Guthrie and Santana during the season because I get the feeling Dayton Moore is already content with the rotation he's cobbled together.

Fire Dayton Moore

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Q&A with FDM

Due to the massive number of media requests we've had at, we thought it would streamline things to do a one-time Q&A with.....NOT.

Actually, in the event we actually gain a readership, something like this might help readers understand where we're coming from. So let's get this started.

Q: Why do you hate Dayton Moore?
S: I actually don't hate Dayton Moore. If or when he is fired or resigns, I won't be dancing in the streets. Only when the Royals are playing in the World Series will I be dancing on any form of roadway.

I've grown past the point of living and dying with the teams I follow. So understand this blog doesn't come from a mouth-breathing, fist-pounding place of rage. Rather, I look at this as a sort of challenge. I'm a former sports writer who is just starting to get into sabermetrics. For the first time in a long time, I feel like I have something worth writing about. I'm not delusional enough to think I could do a better job running the Royals than Moore.

And I have no delusions of grandeur that this blog will have anything to do with what happens to Moore in the future. He strapped his fate to James Shields' right arm. If Moore's latest trade results in a playoff run, he will probably stay in Kansas City as long as he likes. If it doesn't and Wil Myers turns into an All-Star, Moore's first GM job will be his last.

Q: Why was the Shields-Myers trade the "final straw" for your frustration with Moore?
S: As I've written before, the trade for Shields had the stench of a panic move by Moore. It felt like a shortsighted move with no more motivation than to save Moore's job. That wouldn't be quite as offensive if Royals fans hadn't been led to believe for years that the organization would build from within with youth and, realistically, compete from 2014-2018. That plan seemed to be on schedule and Moore suddenly scrapped it in hopes of winning in 2013 and 2014 with a roster that isn't ready.

I wanted to like this deal for the Royals after my initial shock subsided. But of all the analysts I read and listen to and respect, none of them have said this was a win for the Royals. The more I look at the numbers, the less I like the deal. My opinion doesn't mean much, but I do value the opinions of analysts such as Keith Law, Jonah Keri and Rany Jazayerli and what they've said isn't positive.

Q: What's wrong with the Royals trying to win now?
S: If the Royals actually were going to commit to winning right now, I'd be all for it. But if this is their idea of pushing their chips to the middle of the table, it's a half-hearted attempt. It's not enough. It's true, the window for competing in the American League Central is wide open. Behind an awkwardly build Detroit Tigers team, there isn't much competition.

However, despite how many players the Tigers have playing out of position, they still have Justin Verlander, Max Scherzer, Anibal Sanchez, and Doug Fister. Shields might be no better than a No. 4 starter in that rotation. And the Tigers still have Prince Fielder and Miguel Cabreara plus a now-healthy Victor Martinez and underrated (and all-around good guy) Torii Hunter entering the mix in 2013. The Royals have Alex Gordon, Billy Butler, corner infielders who have underperformed to this point in their young careers, a promising catcher and shortstop, a question mark in center field, a hole at second base, and a conundrum in right field. If the Royals truly are "all-in," this can't be their last move. Without Shields, the Royals probably win at least 75 games. With Shields, they might win 80. If they don't win the Central, they're not sneaking into a Wild Card spot because I don't see a .500 team here.

Q: Isn't there something to be said for Moore trying to get fans to show up to Kauffman Stadium in 2013?
S: Someone with even more time on their hands than me once looked up the difference in attendance for Texas Rangers games when Nolan Ryan pitched. What did he find? No noticeable difference whatsoever. If the Ryan Express didn't put butts in seats, James Shields sure isn't. I doubt Myers wouldn't have either, but then again Royals fans did pack Kauffman to see him play in the Futures Game.

Q: If the Royals do make the playoffs next season, will it change your opinion?
S: To be content with a playoff appearance and nothing more is such a defeatist mentality to me. I want to see a team that can compete for a World Series. If the Royals were to somehow reach the playoffs only to get swept by a superior AL East or West team in the ALDS, it would mean less than nothing to me. But to watch a team comprised of players that came up through the system compete for a pennant would mean a great deal to me.

Of course, prospects are prospects and projecting how they'll turn out is like predicting which puppy in a litter might compete for Best in Show. Nonetheless, I believe what Moore was originally building had a better chance at sustained success that what he's working with now.

Q: So you're that sold on Myers that you wouldn't have parted with him for anything?
S: Actually, on the contrary. This may shock you, but I play fantasy baseball in a nerdy dynasty league that includes prospects and I've worked my way to the top of the league by trading prospects for stud hitters and ace pitchers. I didn't use them to trade for above-average pitchers like Shields.

By all means, I would have shipped Myers off with Jake Odorizzi, Mike Montgomery, Patrick Leonard and any other prospect if it meant I was getting a proven, can't-miss hitter or pitcher — or at the very least an equally young and promising arm like Matt Moore, who also pitches for the Rays. Dayton Moore didn't come close to doing that and now his most alluring asset is spent.

I think a better deal could have developed if he'd been more patient. What was the rush to deal your biggest trade chip in December? The trade Moore went with would have been waiting for him in June if nothing better came along first. And if Moore truly exhausted all other possibilities, I wouldn't be nearly as critical, but I don't think he could have based on how quickly he made the move.

Q: If you think Shields is so bad, what alternatives would you have pursued instead?
S: That's a loaded question because it's hard to know who else is available in the trade market, but I'll do my best.

Zack Greinke (6-years, $147 million, Dodgers) — Yeah, I said it (and smarter men than me said it before). If you're really all-in, why not go after the best pitcher on the market who has already played for you?
Trevor Bauer (traded to Indians) — The Diamondbacks gave Bauer (a potential ace) up for a glove-first shortstop and little else. I have to think the Royals could have offered Christian Colon and another prospect for Bauer. Heck, I'd have been ecstatic for a Myers and Colon for Bauer and Adam Eaton swap.
Matt Garza (still with the Cubs) — Trade rumors swirled regarding Garza last July and there's no reason he should be untouchable a few months later. He's had a similar career arc to Shields outside of last season, but because of a down 2012, his price tag would conceivably be smaller and he's two years younger.
Anibal Sanchez (5-years, $80 million, Tigers) — Not only would it have added to the Royals' rotation, but it would have taken away from the Tigers'.
Tommy Hanson (traded to Angels) — Of all the former Braves that Moore could have passed on, he passed on a 26-year-old who is still arbitration-eligible. Don't get me wrong, I'm not a big believer in Hanson, but all it cost the Angels was a reliever. I'd have gladly given up Greg Holland for the chance to get Hanson's career back on track.
Edwin Jackson (free agent) — My guess is he'll cost around $13 million per year, but he's still 29 and he's been solid the last four years, so if the Royals' window is now, this would be the kind of pitcher to give serious consideration to.
Scott Feldman (1-year, $6 million, Cubs) — To Moore's credit, he did make a run at Feldman but only offered $4.5 million. How you can throw $25 million at Jeremy Guthrie, but cringe over $1.5 when it comes to Feldman, I don't know.
Ricky Nolasco (Miami Marlins) — Clearly nothing is nailed down in Miami and he's the best pitcher left on the roster. The Marlins apparently want a power bat like Mark Trumbo, but seeing how they obviously don't plan on winning any time soon, I'm not sure why a couple decent prospects wouldn't land Nolasco.
Kyle Lohse (free agent) — Because he's a Scott Boras client, he's going to be pricey, even though he's a No. 3 starter trying to pass himself off as an ace. Again, I wouldn't add him to carry a rotation, but he's the kind of arm you add if you're trying to win now.
Hiroki Kuroda (1-year, $15 million, Yankees) — He was obviously too pricey for the Royals, but if you're serious about winning, he's the perfect kind of pitcher to fill out your rotation with.
Dan Haren (1-year, $13 million, Nationals) — Haren has health concerns for sure, but there's no such thing as a bad one-year deal, so it would have been worth the gamble to see if he could find his former form.
Vance Worley (traded to Twins), Jason Vargas (traded to Angels), John Lannan (1-year, $2.5 million, Phillies) — These names are at the bottom of the list for a reason. But if the top two spots are strong enough, you can get away with pitchers like these.
James Shields (traded to Royals) — It's not that I'm against Shields, just don't give up so much for him or get more in return to go with him than Wade Davis.

Q: You're forgetting how much Moore has done to get the Royals to this point. Don't you remember how bad it was under Allard Baird?
S: Actually, I'm not forgetting and I do remember what the Royals were like when Moore took over after Baird.

Moore deserves and immense amount of credit for what he's done with the farm system. The Royals haven't gained recognition for the strength of their farm system the last two years by accident.

However, one cause for this effect has been improved funding by ownership. Baird couldn't always spend money on draft picks like Moore has been able to. Moore has vastly improved the Royals' international scouting because he has the money to spend in that area

But when it comes to moves at the Major League level, Moore has appeared overmatched. He committed long-term to Jeff Francoeur (even three years is an eternity for a player like Francoeur). He traded Melky Cabrera for Jonathan Sanchez, who was either injured last year or just epically ineffective  (either way, it doesn't speak highly to Moore's due diligence). He traded David DeJesus for Vin Mazzaro. He traded for Yuniesky Betancourt, traded him away, then re-signed him. He signed Jeff Francis. He let Kyle Davis pitch 99 games for the Royals. He signed Jason Kendall and Jose Guillen. He signed Kyle Farnsworth and Rick Ankiel. He traded for Mike Jacobs. He traded for Joey Gathright. And so on and so on.

It's not a good sign when inking Bruce Chen is a highlight on your resumé.

Finally, he waited until after the 2006 MLB draft to assume his role as GM of the Royals so as not to interfere with the draft. This was the draft the Royals selected Luke Hochevar No. 1 overall, passing on players such as Evan Longoria, Clayton Kershaw, Tim Lincecum, Brandon Morrow and Max Scherzer. I know that in reality a GM doesn't do much during the draft after the first few rounds. However, if I was taking over a new team with the No. 1 overall pick, you better believe I'd have a say in who my team selected with that pick. His tenure with the Royals has thus far been defined by a pitcher he could have prevented drafting.

Q: Don't you think you're being too hard on Moore considering how the economics of baseball hinder small-market teams?
S: I don't like how baseball economics are structured, but I'll never use it as an excuse. Other small-market teams have won before and others will win in the future. It can be done. I just don't think Moore can do it.

Q: So who do you think would do a better job than Moore? 
S: I'm not going to pretend I know who the hot up-and-coming GM prospects are. What I do know is there are plenty of teams building winning teams by balancing development with shrewd big league moves and I have no doubt there are smart people involved in those organizations who would jump at the chance to fill a GM role, even if it's in Kansas City.

Well, I'd say that does it for our first ever Q&A. That was probably overly detailed, but hopefully it explained a lot. Sadly, the world is going to end in two days and all of that typing will have been for nothing.

Fire Dayton Moore

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Trade breakdown Pt. II

With my analysis of the players Dayton Moore received from the Rays complete, it's time to take a look at those never to be seen again in royal blue: Wil Myers, Jake Odorizzi, Mike Montgomery, and Patrick Leonard.

This will be more difficult because only Odorizzi has even appeared in the Majors and no reliable metric exists to predict big league production based on minor league numbers with any accuracy. However, I'll do my best to, again, consider the best- and worst-case possibilities from the Royals' perspective.

Wil Myers, RF (Age 22 on Opening Day 2013)
4 seasons (AA-AAA in 2012), 388 AB at AAA, .378 OBP, .554 SLG, 24 HR, 44 XBH, 98 SO

What Myers becomes in the next 10-15 years will define whether this trade was a shrewd maneuver by Moore or a monumental misstep.

Most scouting reports are glowing. He wasn't Baseball America's Minor League Player of the Year by accident. He ended the 2012 season as Kansas City's best prospect and he will begin 2013 as Tampa Bay's top prospect — assuming he isn't starting in right field. With 37 total home runs in the minors last season, Myers is projected anywhere from multiple All-Star to, at the very least, an everyday regular by scouts.

For Royals fans who suffered through a season in which Jeff Francoeur posted a robust .665 OPS in 2012, it was hard not to salivate at the thought of Myers taking over Francoeur's 603 plate appearances.

I've heard few concerns about Myers' abilities as a Major Leaguer. Only two really come to mind. The first being his swing-and-miss tendency and the second being a little more obscure. Let's tackle the first.

It's true, Myers did strike out a little more often than once every four at bats last season. In Double-A, he struck out once every 3.19 at bats. In Triple-A, he struck out once every 3.96 at bats. For his minor league career, his strikeout rate is once every 4.15 at bats. Sure you'd want to see that up closer to once every six, seven or even eight at bats so you're looking at one strikeout every two games rather than once every game or so, but it's not unbearably bad. By comparison, Pedro Alvarez struck out once every 3.02 at bats in the minors in 2011 (when he also spent time in the bigs). That translated to 180 strikeouts in a full Major League season in 2012 (once every 2.92 at bats), which ranked him fifth in all of baseball.

My feeling is, even if Myers does strike out more than 150 times a season, he's proven he has the power to make up for it, much like Alvarez did in 2012 with 30 home runs. However, I don't think Myers will struggle nearly as much making contact. For one, his strikeout rate went down as he moved up from Double-A to Triple-A last year. Furthermore, Baseball America ranked Myers the Royals' best hitter for average three times during his minor league career and twice recognized him as having the best strike zone discipline in the Royals' organization. I'll take their word over mine any day.

The only other argument I've heard from scouting circles against Myers is the fact he was drafted in the third round by the Royals and has since spent four seasons with the organization — one of which a down 2011 season. As a result, this theory states that the Royals still view Myers as a third round talent, rather than a top notch phenom. So, to them, a third round pick for a pitcher like James Shields isn't a potentially devastating swap to make.

This line of thinking makes sense in that the Royals should know Myers' potential better than anyone else. However, if you buy into that, you would also have to expect the Royals to have seen Eric Hosmer's horrendous 2012 campaign coming. They certainly didn't. They should have known Mike Montgomery was going to break down and traded him when his value was at it's peak. They obviously didn't. And so on and so on with all their failed pitching prospects. On the flip side of this argument, if the Royals think they're selling high on Myers, what makes them so sure the Rays aren't doing the same with Shields and Wade Davis?

I believe I've already made my point, but why not compare Myers' 2012 season to Francoeur's last full minor league season. Myers' numbers are posted above. Here are Francoeur's at age 21 in Double-A: 335 AB, .322 OBP, .487 SLG, 13 HR, 43 XBH, 76 SO. Somehow Moore saw those numbers while with the Braves and it was love at first sight, but Myers' superior numbers at Triple-A scared him off.

Best-case scenario: Concerns over Myers' strikeouts come to fruition while his power never develops at the Major League level. He assumes the status of an every day regular, but never an All-Star.

Worst-case scenario: Myers takes what few criticisms there are against him and he knocks them out of the park. Over and over and over again. He becomes a pillar of the Tampa Bay lineup and outfield. Not only does he appear in multiple All-Star Games, but he also tops the 36 home run plateau on a number of occasions while the Royals single season home run record remains at 36.

Jake Odorizzi, SP (Age 23 Opening Day 2013)

5 seasons (AA-MLB in 2012), 107.1 IP at AAA, 2.93 ERA, 7.38 K/9, 1.01 HR/9, 1.34 WHIP

I'm not crazy about Odorizzi. I expect him to be a No. 3 starter at best in the bigs. He probably won't strike out a ton of hitters. In short, he may be the next Wade Davis.

However, if we are to accept Odorizzi isn't a top-of-the-rotation arm, then how can we not view Moore's trade of Zack Greinke to the Brewers after the 2010 season with a more critical eye?

In exchange for Greinke, Moore acquired Alcides Escobar, Lorenzo Cain, Odorizzi and Jeremy Jeffress. Jeffress was a shot in the dark and is no longer with the organization. Escobar is a magnificent defensive shortstop and has been a pleasant surprise at the plate. Cain has proven nothing at the Major League level (to the extent I would have made the Angels include Peter Bourjos in the Ervin Santana trade if I were the Royals — at worst, it would have allowed them to move Cain to right field and give them an excuse to shop Myers). And Odorizzi pitched two games for the Royals before they decided he didn't have a future in their rotation.

Meanwhile, the Mets snatched up two of the Blue Jays' top prospects for an aging Cy Young winner — who throws a knuckleball. But now I'm getting off topic.

Best-case scenario: Unable to strike batters out consistently, Odorizzi struggles as a starter and is demoted to a relief role, proving to be nothing more than a younger Wade Davis for the Rays.

Worst-case scenario: Odorizzi finds a consistent out pitch under the Rays' guidance and fills out the bottom of a loaded rotation for years to come.

Mike Montgomery, SP (Age 23 Opening Day 2013)
5 seasons (AA-AAA in 2012), 91.2 IP at AAA, 5.69 ERA, 6.6 K/9, 1.2 HR/9, 1.67 WHIP

I won't dig too deep into the numbers on Montgomery. The last two years have made it clear he isn't the same pitcher he was before suffering an arm injury and, as a result, he isn't the prospect he once was.

I had a gut feeling he would be dealt this offseason, ideally netting the Royals a player of value in return while giving him a chance at a fresh start. Well, Montgomery will get his fresh start with an organization that churns out pitchers. However, I'm not impressed with the pitchers he helped the Royals acquire.

During an offseason in which the Miami Marlins are practically giving players away, did Moore even consider a Montgomery for Ricky Nolasco swap? Don't get me wrong, I don't view Nolasco as a cure-all for the Royals rotation, but I trust him more than Jeremy Guthrie and Ervin Santana at this point. He'd only have one year left on his contract and the Royals would at least have a shot at re-signing him. Maybe it would take another lesser prospect, but I don't know why the Marlins would decline such a deal after the fire sale they held with the Blue Jays.

Best-case scenario: Not even the Rays can get Montgomery back on track and he gets a cup of coffee with the big league club before disappearing.

Worst-case scenario: The Rays strike oil with Montgomery, helping him recover his old form as he ascends into a role as a No. 2 or No. 3 starter and the Royals trade more valuable assets to bring him back to Kansas City.

Patrick Leonard, 3B (Age 20 Opening Day 2013)
1 season (Rookie in 2012), 235 AB, .340 OBP, .494 SLG, 14 HR, 26 XBH, 6 SB, 55 SO

I'll spend even less time on Leonard, who could turn out to be anything. He's got great size at 6-4, 225 pounds and he's from Katy, Texas, which I like. I wouldn't be shocked if his season in rookie ball is his best as a professional, but maybe he could have one day replaced Mike Moustakas once Moose inevitably moved on from Kansas City.

Seeing how the Rays actually wanted him and Moore probably didn't think twice about throwing him in (again, no apparent price was too high for Moore to acquire Shields), I suspect Leonard will go on to a sustained Major League career.

Best-case scenario: This trade is the first and last time baseball fans hear of Patrick Leonard as he proves to be nothing more than an organizational player for Tampa Bay.

Worst-case scenario: Rather than filling in for Moustakas, Leonard becomes the eventual replacement for Evan Longoria. He grows into his body and becomes a formidable slugger in the American League East.

Fire Dayton Moore

Monday, December 17, 2012

Trade breakdown Pt. I

“We know we’ve got a special, controllable player here. If we make a deal, we have to make sure we get someone we believe can get us into the playoffs.”
--Unnamed Royals official, Kansas City Star, Dec. 6, 2012

In order to be considered more than just a hateful campaign, actual analysis needs to be provided on this blog. So this post will focus on breaking down the players acquired in Dayton Moore’s Dec. 9 trade with Tampa Bay and my best guesses as to the best- and worst-case scenarios.

This piece was written with the premise that, yes, the Royals entered the offseason in dire need of pitching, but the price paid was too steep and the players Moore acquired in return were a curious fit at best.

James Shields (Age 31 on Opening Day 2013)
7 seasons, 3.84 career FIP, 4.3 WAR in 2012

Might as well start at the top. Shields was the apple of Moore’s eye this offseason as rumblings of a potential deal began to resonate in the weeks leading up to the Dec. 9 trade.

The question is why Moore apparently couldn’t live without a pitcher who has posted solid, but unspectacular career numbers and has only two years left on his contract at the cost of the Royals’ top prospect. The two fundamental issues Royals fans should have with the Shields acquisition is (1) Royals management is parading him around as if he’s an “ace” and (2) it cost the Royals a prospect who, at worst, was regarded as a legitimate everyday right fielder.

Let’s get one thing straight about Shields. He is not an “ace.” In all of Major League Baseball, there might only be a handful of bona fide aces. Justin Verlander (6.8 WAR), Felix Hernandez (6.1) and Clayton Kershaw (5.5) are some of the few who fit the definition. Shields, by comparison, finished 18th in WAR among qualified starting pitchers. Heading into 2013, he realistically could have been Tampa Bay’s No. 4 starter and no one would have questioned it. That speaks partly to the Rays’ starting pitching depth but also to the fact that Moore paid a premium price for a middle-of-the-rotation arm.

I've had friends tell me Shields is a fun pitcher to root for. Maybe that's because he makes a favorable impression on fans at home. On the road, though, "Big Game James" doesn't always make the trip. In 2012, his ERA was 0.58 higher on the road. In 2011, it was 0.99 higher, 1.29 higher than his 4.53 home ERA in 2010, 0.87 higher in 2009, 2.23 higher in 2008, 0.72 higher in 2007, and 1.71 higher in 2006. How he will perform in a full season when games at Tropicana Field are few and far between is anyone's guess.

Bill James offered his best guess on Fangraphs with his 2013 projections for Shields, and they aren’t the stuff of aces. James has Shields’ K/9 dropping from 8.82 to 7.89 and his HR/9, WHIP, ERA and FIP all increasing. In fact, if James’ projections come to pass, the Royals will have given up Wil Myers for the 2007 version of Gil Meche.

Of course, Meche was 28 in 2007 and had only one more quality season before his career fell on a cliff. While the Royals front office raves about Shields’ ability to be a work horse because he’s thrown nearly 1,350 innings the last six seasons, there’s always the chance that workload will eventually catch up to him in Kansas City. Even if it doesn’t — and I don’t especially think it will — and even if Shields prevents Luke Hochevar from reentering the rotation, Shields was only 2.8 wins better than a hopeless Hochevar in 2012.

As of this writing, the Royals’ projected starting rotation, in order, is Shields, Jeremy Guthrie (5.10 FIP in 2012), Ervin Santana (5.63 FIP in 2012), Wade Davis (0 starts in 2012) and Bruce Chen (4.73 FIP in 2012). Please take a moment to reread the quote above. Now look at those five names. Sure, Hochevar, Danny Duffy and Felipe Paulino might break into the rotation at some point, but how much more confidence does that inspire? With or without Shields and Davis, the Royals’ rotation doesn’t even resemble the shadow of a playoff rotation.

Best-case scenario: Shields outperforms his projections, continues his six-year trend as a workhorse and he lives up to his contract, but the rest of the Kansas City rotation can’t keep up and the Royals finish a distant second behind the Detroit Tigers. He duplicates his strong efforts in 2014 and cashes in during the offseason with another franchise while the Royals’ long playoff drought still lingers. As for Myers, he never lives up to the high expectations Royals fans once had for him and Moore can at least claim the trade was a draw.

Worst-case scenario: Shields follows in Meche’s footsteps in all the wrong ways after years of wear and tear on his arm. He doesn’t live up to his contract in 2013 or 2014, but re-signs with the Royals for a Guthrie-like deal just to fill a rotation spot for a Royals franchise still in desperate need of pitching. In the meantime, Myers becomes a perennial All-Star for Tampa Bay, sparking enough fan excitement that the Rays construct a new outdoor ballpark.

Wade Davis (Age 27 on Opening Day 2013)
4 seasons, 4.28 career FIP, 1.1 WAR in 2012

Once I saw a Tweet that the Royals acquired not only Shields, but Davis as well, my concern over what the Royals gave up grew exponentially.

In two seasons as a starter for the Rays, Davis was basically replacement level, doing little more than eating up innings. Because of this, in 2012 the Rays wisely used him in a relief role. Then the Rays did an even smarter thing and shipped him off to a desperate team for promising prospects.

So what’s the grand plan for the Royals in 2013 with Davis? If the team’s official site is to be trusted, he’s penciled in the starting rotation right now. What reason they have to think he’s any different than Aaron Crow is a mystery. It seems to me, Davis’ only case to be in the starting rotation is, at the moment, Hochevar is his only competition. And let’s say Davis somehow doesn’t make the rotation, of what use is he in a Royals bullpen that didn’t need upgraded?

Meanwhile, on his way to Tampa Bay is Jake Odorizzi, who at least started games in 2012 and at most could have been in the middle of the Royals’ rotation next season. To trade Myers and another prospect for Shields would have been one thing — albeit still a bad trade — but to throw in Odorizzi for a replacement level arm such as Davis was borderline irresponsible.

Best-case scenario: Davis finds a way to reach his unfulfilled potential and nails down one of the bottom three rotation spots for the Royals the next four seasons. At the same time, Odorizzi doesn’t live up to even the most conservative projections and finds himself in Davis’ old bullpen spot.

Worst-case scenario: The Royals find out the hard way that trading for relievers in hopes of making them starters is not a sound business model. Davis is serviceable out of the bullpen the next four seasons while Odorizzi asserts himself as another young, formidable arm in the Rays’ rotation.

Fire Dayton Moore

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Not exactly easy listening Pt. II

ESPN may not be as geeky, but today Eric Karabell and Mark Simon gave their two cents on Sunday's trade. So far, the most any analysts can offer is it may have been an even swap. I've yet to hear or read from a trusted source that Dayton Moore took Andrew Friedman to the woodshed on this.

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Fire Dayton Moore

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Not exactly easy listening

Debate over Sunday's trade hasn't been limited to print and online media. Several sports outlets have discussed the deal in great detail on their respective podcasts. Shockingly, the pundits represented here don't see eye-to-eye with Dayton Moore.

B.S. Report with Bill Simmons and Jonah Keri

Baseball Prospectus' Effectively Wild Podcast with Sam Miller and Ben Lindbergh

Baseball America Podcast with John Manuel and J.J. Cooper (posted Dec. 10)

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Shots fired

"If something happened, I couldn't get another job in baseball? Is that what people think?''
--Dayton Moore

Dayton Moore responded to criticism of Sunday's trade to Bob Nightengale of USA Today. So, let me get this straight Dayton, you read sabermetric-savvy writers often enough to notice when they criticize you, but not often enough to realize a player with a -3.0 WARP probably shouldn't be your everyday right fielder?

Anyway, Dayton, no that isn't what we think. We know you'll always have a job waiting for you in Atlanta or St. Petersburg if this whole "general manager" thing doesn't work out.

Fire Dayton Moore

Monday, December 10, 2012

End of the second act

I just did what I do best. I took your little plan and I turned it on itself. Look what I did to this city with a few drums of gas and a couple of bullets. Hmmm? You know... You know what I've noticed? Nobody panics when things go "according to plan." Even if the plan is horrifying! If, tomorrow, I tell the press that, like, a gang banger will get shot, or a truckload of soldiers will be blown up, nobody panics, because it's all "part of the plan." But when I say that one little old mayor will die, well then everyone loses their minds!
--Dayton Moore talking to himself in a mirror
The mission statement for this blog should be rather obvious. However, it should be made perfectly clear that this isn't a mere knee-jerk reaction to one trade. Oh no. This has been building slowly since Dayton Moore assumed the role of making all personnel decisions for the Kansas City Royals in June 2006. Moore's decision to jettison top outfield prospect Wil Myers and three other prospects of significance for a wing (James Shields) and a prayer (Wade Davis) simply sent us and fans with the same convictions boiling over.

So I have two goals for this blog. The first is to personally break down the trade — the key players involved and why the timing, price, and return made no sense, yet Moore pulled the trigger anyway. My second goal is to analyze Moore's tenure with the Royals and bring perspective to the ill-advised moves he has made. I also suspect my partner will bring an in-depth look at the statistical side to prove Moore's folly.

Since coming to Kansas City, Moore has fed fans his "plan" for the franchise. The front office has preached patience and offered a promising window for which the Royals could realistically compete. Fans came to peace with those forecasts. Fans had hope — perhaps more hope than ever before — and Moore dashed those hopes to keep his job. Change the words "mayor" to "Myers" and "die" to "get traded" above and you have a fairly accurate rendition of what went down Sunday night instead of a quote from The Dark Knight.

Things were going "according to plan" but Moore got needlessly elaborate in his direction for the team. A friend of mine who does not follow the Royals (the Mariners, in fact) did his best to justify the trade late Sunday night. He said there should be far more outrage over Jeremy Guthrie's three-year, $25 million contract. My response: "Guthrie was just money. This was hope."

Moore sacrificed hope for sustained success and a perennial All-Star outfielder in royal blue in exchange for a better chance at a contract extension and a possible playoff appearance over the next two years. This blog is for fans who don't believe that's how a franchise should be run.

Here's one more good read to add to the reactions my partner posted earlier:

Fire Dayton Moore

Wil Myers national trade reaction ...

A quick look at some of the major publications' reaction to the Wil Myers-James Shields trade:

ESPN's Keith Law: A heist for T.B.

Fangraphs' Dave Cameron: Royals sacrifice future to be mediocre in 2013

• SBNation's Rob Neyer: This is a desperate move for a desperate team

• Grantland's Rany Jazayerli: A Royal blunder

•'s Jay Jaffe: Myers-for-Shields trade won't be enough for Royals

But why should we be worried? After all, expert Jay Mohr says in a tweet that the Royals pulled off a "bank robbery."

Wait, what's that you're saying? He's a comedian and not a baseball analyst?

Hmm, so who's wrong? The five baseball experts above? Or the comedian?

Fire Dayton Moore