So another July 31 trade deadline comes and goes.
Around Kansas City – at least for the last couple of years – most Royals fans have just come to refer to this day as just another day… because it sure hasn’t felt like anything special ’round these parts.
While other teams are grabbing sluggers or starting pitchers or bullpen help or buckets of balls the KC Royals – knowing better than anybody else in baseball – are once again dancing with what brung them. Of course this is what GM Dayton Moore had already said was going to happen so it really shouldn’t have been a huge shock to anybody.
I can’t speak for the Royals. I can’t speak for Dayton. I’d like to think there is a modicum of intelligence there somewhere and he realizes this isn’t truly a playoff caliber team right now but by his actions it appears that really isn’t the case. It appears he really does believe it is. Either that or the purse strings have been closed and him telling us that there was money available there for a deal wasn’t true. But then again there were other executives from other clubs – you know the guys that actually tell the truth – that said there was no money there.
In the end it really doesn’t matter. I mean of course it would have been nice to make a deal. It would have been nice to hold out hope that something good might happen for the fans of this city. I’d say good for the Royals but at this point I don’t care. They have buried themselves by these moves… it’s the fans that really deserve better.
But here’s the thing. Here’s the issue. Last year Dayton traded away Wil Myers and Jake Odorizzi (no we are not going to rehash this again, just stay with me) and he told us all that we were going all in. That the time to step up was now. He said we needed a starting pitcher and he got the guy he wanted with Big Game James Shields. Most everybody in Kansas City knew that he was a 2-year rental but that didn’t seem to matter with most fans if we just made the playoffs. We also acquired Wade Davis who Dayton told us was going to be a good starter as well. Of course many people in Kansas City knew that wasn’t going to be the case, but he could be a good reliever… and a good reliever he has been. Unfortunately he also came with a HUGE pricetag starting the 2015 season – a contract he signed when Tampa thought he was going to be a starter as well – so most likely he’s not going to be around either next season unless he redoes his contract.
Going into this season everybody knew there were holes that needed to be filled. 2nd base and right field were probably the most glaring of those holes. So Dayton went out and acquired Omar Infante and Nori Aoki. Most everybody knew who Infante was… and he’s an ok 2B that’s nothing if not consistent. Nobody but fantasy baseballers or hardcore fans knew who Aoki was and most of them told the rest of you that he just wasn’t that good. Of course Dayton and the Royals disagreed. They told everybody that would listen what a great baserunner he was, what a great outfielder he was and what a great leadoff hitter he was. He has been none of that and by this trade deadline it was widely reported the Royals were once again wanting to find themselves a right fielder.
So what does all this mean? What it means is that in 2 seasons the Royals acquired Shields, Davis, Infante and Aoki and put those 4 players around the ‘core’ group of players that were already on this team… a core group of players that for the most part are nothing special. Yes there are a few decent guys here and there or guys that do things well. Perez looks like a star. Gordon is very consistent in the outfield. But at pretty much every other position you have guys that just haven’t proven themselves. What you had was a team that needed a strong player or 2 or 3 added to really put them over the edge.
And in 2 seasons we got… Shields, Davis, Infante and Aoki. That’s not the injection this team needed. And to make matters worse in 2 trade deadlines since this all started Dayton hasn’t done one thing.. not ONE thing to further inject something into this team. Sure last season he acquired 101 30-something infielders to rotate in and out of the organization and this year he’s brought in another dozen or so 30-something (or 40-something) players that don’t have a spot on the club but they were all available so he acquired them.
I know Dayton told us this was it. I know Dayton said it was time for these guys to step up. But he’s been saying that for 2 years now. He’s been saying these guys were it, they needed to prove something, they needed to be the guys we won or lost with…..
I just think most Royals fans were hoping he really didn’t mean that. That there had to be something else. If you’re so close, so close to finally getting to where you want to be… if you’ve gone all in and traded away minor league depth – the future of this club – and acquired 2-year rentals on pitching and 30-something players that don’t have a lot of time left… shouldn’t you actually make sure you get the most out of your investment that you can?
Shouldn’t you be playing these last 2 seasons out like it’s your job in the line?
Shouldn’t Royals fans expect better?