Archive for Thursday, July 13, 2006

The Fly Route

July 13, 2006

The Kansas City Royals have been hot.

So hot, in fact, that suddenly everything seems like a good idea. The pressure has allowed David Glass some breathing room, everyone has forgotten the media credential scandal of last month and I swear I even heard someone say "Maybe Allaird Baird was right about these players."

Whoa there.

We all can't agree on that fact, but everyone does seem to be able to agree that new general manager Dayton Moore has proven to be an inspired choice.

Me? I'm excited and optimistic, but I need to see one more month of baseball if I'm going to buy into this whole Royals renaissance.

There's a number of problems with getting overly excited about the recent run. It's been great -- KC won 15 of 29 games heading into the all-star break -- but such runs aren't unique to this year's Royals. I have learned over the last four years that Kansas City almost always enjoys some bump from a change in management, and I'm not convinced this isn't a similar set of circumstances.

The Royals got hot last year first when Tony Pena resigned and again when Buddy Bell was hired. Three years ago -- before the semi-miraculous 2003 season -- the team put together a strong stretch in the middle of the summer, too.

Both of those teams went on to lose 100 games, despite the hot streaks.

No, Moore and his newfound team are going to have to do more to prove to me that they're really on the right path.

Moore has made only one move of any significance so far, and it's one I actually really liked.

Critics feared that by trading pitching prospect (a very rare label to affix to anyone in the Royals system these days) J.P. Howell for Tampa Bay centerfielder Joey Gathright, Moore would alienate then-centerfielder David DeJesus.

That hasn't proven true, at all. While Gathright has proven pretty weak at the plate -- he's hitting just .143 in July -- he has been solid in center field and DeJesus has flourished in left.

DeJesus hitting .368 in July, .58 better than his season average.

Maybe he can take it easier on defense in left. Maybe he doesn't feel as much pressure. Whatever it is though, moving him is looking very smart.

He'll cool at some point, I'm sure. The Royals' streak will stop and while they may play better than they did early in the season, they won't continue to play above .500.

Moore doesn't have to avoid a 100-loss season to impress me, though.

He needs to deal all the veterans around whom trade talks are swirling, and he needs to get a couple good prospects from them. Baird's potential moves always proved to be a lot more smoke than fire and Moore can't afford to be as indecisive.

Deal "All Star" Mark Redman. Deal Reggie Sanders.

Losing Doug Mientkiewicz or Mark Grudzielanek would do more harm than good, I'm afraid, but if there's a great deal to be made, make it.

Find some quality for those players, then I'll be impressed with Dayton Moore.

Trade Mike Sweeny for someone -- then Moore is my new hero.

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