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Dayton Moore, an executive with the Kansas City Royals since 2006, was fired Wednesday.
This front office move comes as the Royals are in their sixth straight season under .500, going 59-89 in the AL Central entering the game Wednesday.
Team owner John Sherman announced the move at a news conference, where Moore spoke about the situation before leaving.
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“I think the goal is clear: It’s to get back in contention for championships, and we have to make sure we’re making progress towards that goal,” said Sherman, who bought the club from David Glass in 2019 while keeping Moore as general manager before making he president of baseball operations in 2022.
“In 2022 we went back, and that happens. It happens to great teams. But when I started talking to Dayton and others, I felt like we needed more changes than were being talked about, and that was a big reason to do this one.”
JJ Picollo, whom Sherman hired as general manager this season, will take over as chief of baseball operations now. He was the first person Moore hired since he took over as general manager in 2006, but the dynamic never really worked.
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“I’ve known JJ since he was 21 years old,” Moore noted in his brief speech. “He is an incredible leader and, as I mentioned before, he is more than ready to lead the baseball operations department in a very innovative and productive way.”
Moore’s impact on the Royals is undeniable. He took over in 2006 and the team finished that year with its third straight 100-loss season. Slowly but surely, Moore and his team relied on the process of acquiring young talent and developing it.
The Royals took their time moving up as World Series contenders, but made the most of it in 2015 when they raced to defeat the New York Mets in five games.
Moore and his team can be credited for finding the likes of Salvador Perez, who is still on the team, Lorenzo Cain, Eric Hosmer, Mike Moustakas, Whit Merrifield and most recently Bobby Witt Jr.
“He’s a great guy, a great person,” Perez said. “It’s hard, you know? I never thought he was going to leave this organization.”
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Moore was constantly faced with a small market budget, like other clubs in the league. When players like Hosmer, Cain and Moustakas reached the top of his game, he had to make the decision to let them go and get their lucrative deals in free agency.
Moore’s wording wasn’t the best either, so they haven’t found that spark like they did before 2015. At the end of the day, without the big budget of teams like the Los Angeles Dodgers, Mets and New York Yankees, the Royals have to compete by selecting well and developing young talent. The Tampa Bay Rays are a prime example of how to successfully do things that way.
That’s going to be Picollo’s goal now, as Moore awaits a new opportunity in the MLB.
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“There’s a gap right now between where we are and where we expected,” Sherman said. “I felt like in 2021 we made progress, and in 2022, that’s not how I feel.”