Kansas City Royals general manager Dayton Moore's job is safe at this point, but it's become debatable as to what kind of asset he really is to the franchise. His six-year tenure has been spotty at the Major League level, despite his oversight of such an impressive farm system. In fact, it should be noted that Kevin Goldstein of Baseball Prospectus proclaimed it as one of the best ever before the prospects started to hit the ML level in 2011.
After facing the reality of a lopsided trade that brought Jonathan Sanchez and Ryan Verdugo for the All-Star Game MVP Melky Cabrera, fan confidence in Moore is waning.
"You want them all to work out, but most of the time they don't, unfortunately," Royals general manager Dayton Moore said Tuesday. "It's part of the business, you move on and you accept it. You continue to look for solutions."
Verdugo may have only been considered a band-aid option at this point, but his poor performance in his ML debut on Tuesday evening contributed to rubbing even more salt into the wounds of the "bleeding blue" fan base.
As Kansas City's woes continue,(4-10 in July) and the team drifts out of the AL Central race, the front office has some decisions to make with the trade deadline looming. Stand pat and stick to the rebuilding plan in place? Take drastic measures to ensure an improved product at the major league level immediately? Don't be surprised if Moore has a lot of sleepless nights leading up to the trade deadline trying to improve the club in the short term. His contract runs through 2014, but he knows his job could soon be in jeopardy.
Buyers or sellers at the deadline is the question? Being sellers in July is becoming a "Groundhog Day" scenario in Kansas City. The phone isn't exactly ringing off the hook for their veteran players, but don't be surprised to see Jonathan Broxton or Jose Mijares moved. Jeff Francoeur won't warrant much attention on the market unless Kansas City is willing to eat a bulk of his remaining contract that is owed through 2013.
According to Fangraphs, he's a - 0.9 war player, but he could potentially bring some value to the club as a fourth outfielder if they can't find a trade that makes sense. Committing $16.5 million to him does sting, but he could still have a useful role. Available to play if Lorenzo Cain or Wil Myers ensue any growing pains and need some rest. They could work his bat into the lineup against lefties as well. (A career .294-341-484 line against lefties.)
It has been stated that Moore is open minded to dealing prospects to bolster a rotation in dire need of an upgrade. Was the recent inquiry about Matt Garza just a feeler? If they can put together a package of prospects that doesn't include Wil Myers or Jake Odorizzi it should be explored more extensively. While Garza may not be a true ace, he's the best starting pitcher not named Zack Greinke or Cole Hamels that is readily available on trade market.
James Shields of the Tampa Rays and Anibal Sanchez of the Miami Marlins are also intriguing options for the Royals to consider. Shields would be a great fit in Kansas City. He's under team control through 2014 with two affordable team options. While the Rays are listening to offers, it's unlikely he'll be dealt as they expect a return of Evan Longoria, giving them reason to believe they'll be in the wild card hunt all season. Sanchez is another long shot to be dealt, as they're still in the wildcard hunt despite a sub-.500 record.
We'll see how things transpire over the next couple of weeks, as any blockbuster deal still seems like a long shot to me. By no means does the organization have to throw all their eggs into one basket by the trade deadline to get some positive things accomplished. Promoting Wil Myers and Jake Odorizzi improves the 25 man roster. Giving other unseasoned players like Johnny Giavotella regular playing time could prove helpful in finding out what they have with all their young core and where they fit. (Giavotella a .400-466-680 line with 3 homers in Omaha this month.) Such moves would certainly create more buzz and fill more seats down the stretch as well.
Dayton Moore needs to shake things up to encourage fans to stay on board with the "our time" advertising campaign that was launched this spring. Patience is wearing thin for a city desperately desiring a winner. Will the front office right the ship or let it sink? Time is ticking for Dayton Moore to reconstruct his current reputation as a GM before the "hot seat" becomes too warm.