Nobody told Dayton Moore that a room full of bloggers would be interviewing him. He was already sitting down at our table before anyone told him what we were.
We did not get many questions in – more on that in a moment – but I don’t think we asked him softballs. For example, Nick asked about all the low-OBP guys the Royals have acquired even after GMDM paid frequent lip service to OBP.
To that, Moore gave a loooong, drawn-out answer that started out in a VERY promising way: “You get the players that you can.” I got all excited, thinking Moore was going to talk about the market, or what is truly available to the Royals, compared to the market as a whole.
No, instead, the answer meandered to the draft, the Yankees, the baseball-centric mindset of the front office people, etc. etc. And a lot of it was perfectly interesting. What it was NOT, however, was an answer to Nick’s original question. Why continue to sign low-OBP guys while simultaneously talking about the merits of OBP? This was how our time with Moore went.
(I do think that first sentence is very telling: You get the players that you can get. In other words, it’s probable that the Royals have gone after some much more attractive players, but failed to get them. So the ones we do get? Well, they’re the best of what’s left, I guess.)
Here are some other quotes from Moore.
We want on-base guys. Jeff Francoeur, he’s not an on-base guy. We know what we’re getting, but what he IS, is somebody who has a lot of athleticism, was productive as a Major League player at 21 years old. That’s very, very difficult to do. You could fit them all in this room, in the last 50 years, [the players] that have been productive at 21 in the Major Leagues. But, he has different things: Leadership, energy, he’s gonna give us effort from Day 1, all the way to the last day.
The one thing, to be very candid with you, that we’ve had with guys is, they come here with the great expectations, and if things don’t go well, they shut it down. They shut it down and prepare themselves for the next contract and the next opportunity.
On aggressive swingers:
We all know that…the percentages of success of a hitter who’s swinging at the first pitch is about .100. We make guys take until they get strikes in their first at-bat. We work on all those things in the minor leagues, we work on all that stuff in instructional leagues. In spring training, we may have guys that, we don’t let them even swing the bat until they get two strikes for the first week of the season. Trust me, we’re always analzying it, and trying to put development plans in place for every single player, because they’re all different and they all have different skill sets.
On trading DDJ:
The deal that we had for Dave was the best deal that we had in place. David DeJesus was coming off the best year of his career, and he was performing at his best level at the deadline. Obviously, he got hurt, but the deals that we had proposed to us weren’t even close to what we got in return with Oakland. You’d be surprised. If you all had the same information, if anybody had the same information we had, you’d all probably do the same thing. …David DeJesus is a very good player, but the market is what it is for him. What are people going to give up in talent for one year, AND they’re going to have to pay $6 million?
On right-handed pitchers:
They’re a dime a dozen. But left-handers always have value.
Overall, Moore was more candid than I thought he would be. Really, the fact that he was OK with an audience of bloggers is the story. I already knew he was a nice person, one who truly cares about the people he meets and players he signs. I’m not about to start brown-nosing or anything, but it was good to get that face time with him.
I have so many more questions for Moore, but it was refreshing to hear him say some of the things that he did.