Fire Dayton Moore

Fire Dayton Moore
It's time.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

"In a small way..."

My first post for was on Dec. 10, 2012. I declared that moment -- just days after the James Shields-Wil Myers trade -- the end of Dayton Moore's second act. For very different reasons than I imagined at the time, I was right.

Based on a few snarky Facebook and Twitter comments, it seems people expect me to bow down to Dayton Moore, beg for forgiveness and feel some sort of shame for such a misguided endeavor as this blog.

Of course, these are the same people who've never visited this blog or followed Fire Dayton Moore on Twitter. They take everything at face value, read a Twitter handle and draw conclusions. I get it; it's easy. It's also lazy. And it's the reason there was no pressure on the Royals front office to win until December, 2012.

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.

This quote is from a Q&A I did with myself on Dec. 19, 2012, regarding the fallout from the Shields-Myers trade. If you want to boil down the purpose of this blog into one paragraph, that would be the one -- years of frustration boiling over to hold Moore accountable from that point forward. There were myriad arguments to make against that trade. Rany Jazayerli, Joe Posnanski, Rob Neyer, Dave Cameron, Keith Law, Sam Mellinger and many other respectable analysts questioned the trade. Those same analysts have questioned Moore's competence before and since that trade. They are just more politically correct than FIRE DAYTON MOORE DOT COM.

Despite the unforeseeable events of the last month, the arguments against that trade, and the critiques of Moore, still apply. Even though it's clear the Royals didn't lose the deal, neither did the Rays. When the World Series ends, the Rays still have Myers, Jake Odorizzi, Mike Montgomery and Patrick Leonard. The Royals will be left with the best setup man in the game.

The payoff is the Royals have a World Series appearance -- maybe a world championship -- and, yes, that alone justifies the trade. However, if you're here expecting a mea culpa from me, you should stop reading now.

I never viewed this as a campaign, so in no way do I consider this blog a failure. Instead, I view this as an overwhelming success. I specifically stated early on in the blog's existence that I never expected Moore to be fired. However, don't think for a second that the front office didn't begin to feel pressure when this domain name was purchased.

Go back to December 2012. At the same time this blog sprung up, the Chiefs were busy overhauling their front office, thanks in part to the frustrations expressed by that fan base. This blog was a seed -- a dormant seed -- but a seed, nonetheless, for a similar revolt.

From that point on, the front office knew mere incremental improvement -- let alone regression -- would not be tolerated. It had to deliver playoff success before Shields left Kansas City. As small of a role as this blog played, it still played a part in forcing the front office's hand in finally fulfilling promises made by, "The Process."

Speaking of "The Process," everyone does remember it took Dayton Moore EIGHT seasons to do this, right? Neal Huntington led an equally hapless Pirates organization to the postseason in five seasons. A Pirates blog actually summed up Moore's tenure with the Royals pretty well recently, comparing him to Huntington.

Allow me to summarize it: Jose Guillen, Yuniesky Betancourt, Tony Pena, Willie Bloomquist, Mike Jacobs, Jeff Francoeur. Ring any bells? I compiled my own list of Moore's failed acquisitions last year. Furthermore, let's not forget all the embarrassing comments Moore and his field staff have made nearly

Making bad choices, saying stupid things and experiencing success are not mutually exclusive. Just look at politicians.

When I try to think of a metaphor for this postseason, the scenario that keeps coming to mind is this: Dayton Moore walks into a casino and sits down at a blackjack table. Every hand he's dealt is either a 16 or 17. Every time it's a 16, he stays. Every time it's a 17, he hits. And he wins every hand. That's exactly what has happened this postseason thus far.

The starting pitching has kept the team in every game. The offense has eight home runs in eight playoff games after hitting 95 in 162 -- last in baseball. The team stole SEVEN bases to escape the Wild Card play-in game and speed has continued to do "what speed do." The bullpen, of course, has been nearly unhittable.

Specifically, players like Mike Moustakas, Eric Hosmer, Christian Colon, Omar Infante, Nori Aoki, Jeremy Guthrie, Jason Vargas and Jason Frazor -- all acquired by Moore -- have come through at critical moments despite checkered pasts entering the playoffs. Lorenzo Cain has taken the postseason by storm with his brilliance in the outfield. BILLY BUTLER STOLE A BASE. And the Ned Yost narrative has flipped 180 degrees in less than two weeks. Ironically, Shields has been one of the few players yet to shine in the postseason. But realistically, the only thing that has really gone wrong for the Royals all season has been Luke Hochevar's injury in the spring. That's it.

And I've loved every minute of this magical ride.

But anyone who wants to ridicule this blog because everything that could go right has gone right for the Royals since the bottom of the 8th inning of the Wild Card game has no credibility as far as I'm concerned. These things don't happen. They haven't happened to the Royals for 29 years.

It's not hypocritical to revel in an unprecedented playoff run while acknowledging that not every step of "The Process" has gone according to plan. If "The Process" had gone off without a hitch:
  • Hosmer wouldn't have had observers wondering if he was a lost cause this summer.
  • Moustakas wouldn't have been sent to Omaha this year, nor would he be batting No. 9 in the playoffs.
  • Colon would have been the Royals' starting second baseman this spring, if not sooner.
  • Aoki would not have been a trade target during the offseason.
  • Raul Ibanez and Josh Willingham would not have been members of the Royals this season.
  • Danny Duffy and Aaron Brooks wouldn't have been the only pitchers drafted and developed by Moore to start games for the Royals this season.
  • Guthrie and Vargas would not have been pursued in free agency.
  • Aaron Crow would pitch the first six innings instead of just the sixth inning and he wouldn't have been left off the postseason roster.
  • The Royals wouldn't have been the only team in baseball to hit fewer than 100 home runs this season.
  • Ned Yost wouldn't have been booed in the middle of a Wild Card game.
  • Wade Davis would be a contributing member of the starting rotation instead of the bullpen.
  • And.....Wil Myers never would have been dealt for Shields.

Having said that, Billy Beane and Andrew Friedman have earned praise in the past for exploiting market inefficiencies. Likewise, Dayton Moore does deserve credit for zigging when everyone else was zagging.

Despite being unable to develop power from within, he didn't pour all of his funds into free agents like Nelson Cruz or Kendrys Morales. He spent on pitching. He spent on the best available second baseman to finally fill a hole that should have been filled long ago. He crowded his outfield depth chart with some of the best defenders in the game. And along the way, he found players who would buy into a philosophy based on putting the ball in play as often as possible when conventional wisdom said to work counts, earn walks and turn mistakes into three-run home runs.

That formula was enough to get the Royals into the playoffs. That formula -- combined with an unexpected power surge -- has proven to be unbeatable in the playoffs. Nobody saw this coming. Nobody could have seen this coming. Not even Moore or Yost.

Nevertheless, this World Series appearance undoubtedly justifies Dayton Moore's position as GM of the Royals. It might just get him a raise in Atlanta. For the record, I've always applauded his efforts internationally as well as the Zack Greinke trade. I'm just not simple-minded enough to allow a selection of good moves and a ton of good fortune at the perfect time to cancel out eight years of head-scratching, inexplicable miscalculation on Moore's behalf.

I'm grateful to Moore for bringing postseason relevance back to Kansas City. Excuse me for expecting it in a timely manner. I'll always be proud of this blog. I've probably made a few comments I shouldn't have about Moore. Other than that, I stand behind the words on this blog. Not many fans would ever put forth this much effort in hopes of someday seeing their favorite team in the World Series. Well, I did. The Royals are in the World Series. I don't owe anyone a thing.


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