Since 2006, Dayton Moore ran baseball operation for the Royals but now the era is over as Moore was fired. There were two Moore eras, the first one that began when he was hired and culminated in the 2015 World Series and the second era in which Royals went from World Series champ to the cellar of the American League Central division.
Moore struck all the right moves in winning the 2015 World Series. Key members of the pennant winning team came from the minors including Eric Hosmer, Mike Moustakas, Salvador Perez, Alex Gordon along with pitchers Yolando Ventura, Danny Duffy, and Greg Holland. Others that came up through the minors to fill out key roles including Christian Colon, Jared Dyson, Kelvin Herrera, Luke Hochevar, and Brandon Finnegan. He made several great acquisitions including James Shields, Wade Davis, Kendry Morales, Alex Rio, Edinson Volquez, Johnny Cueto, and Ben Zobrist. They all played key roles in getting Royal to the 2014 World Series and then winning the whole ball of wax.
From 2016, the decline began as Royals finished just .500 and then 80-82 in 2017. Moore tried to give his core one more chance to win a title but instead, he set the stage for another dark age. Unlike his previous tour, his moves proved disastrous including Luka Duda, Brandon Moss, Ryan Goins, Ian Kennedy, Chris Owings, and Brandon Maurer. Maybe one trade that reflects this period was Wade Davis for Jorge Soler. Soler was considered a potential star in the future. In 2019, he had his best season, batting .265 with 48 homers, a Royals record but for the most part, Soler never reached his potential.
The minor league fails to produce prospects over the next few years. The strategy in 2008 started with drafting college players, hoping they could make the jump to majors sooner. So far this hasn’t really worked out on the pitching side as only Brady Singer has made the jump to the majors. Other like Kris Bubic and Daniel Lynch have yet to show any improvement since they have come up.
Coming into 2022, there was hope that the Royals would continue the improvement from the year before. Royals won the season series against Twins, White Sox, and Tigers. Only the Guardians won 4 their season series and the Royals won 74 games and finished with less than 90 losses the first time since 2017 not counting the 2020 shortened season.
Perez had a career year with 48 homers, a team record and Lopez hit .300. Benintendi hit .276, provided good defense in left field and added 17 homers plus Merrifield hit .277. The bull pen looked like they were developing a young bullpen including Coleman, Brentz, Staumont, and Barlow. The only question was whether the young starting pitcher can make the next move.
Instead, the whole thing came crashing down as Royals began 16-32 as the starting pitching collapsed and the relief pitching was complete failure. While Benintendi started out fast and was batting .300 plus going into All-Star break, Perez, Merrifield, rookie Witt, and Santana were hitting .100 and the offense was totally ineffectual. Perez had injured thumb and eventually had surgery.
By the All-Star break, the Royals were back to ground floor of the rebuild. Moore view that the Royals were close to contention was over. Royals brought up much of the minor leagues and begin the rebuild. Moore firing is a reflection that the failures of the past seven years from 2016 to the present. Moore is a good guy who gave Royals fan a brief three-year window of winning and championship between 2013 and 2015 but since then, the franchise floundered. From 2016, he had one year .500 and six losing season with three at 100 losses, one at 88 losses and this year Royals will have 90 plus losses. Failure has consequences.