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Moore: Royals need more innings from starters

KANSAS CITY -- Royals general manager Dayton Moore often talks about even the best teams being imperfect. And Moore's team had one noticeable flaw in 2015, even though it captured a World Series title.

"We have to address the issue of innings from our starters," Moore said. "It's important to get more innings out of our starters."

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In 2015, Kansas City finished last in the American League in innings pitched from its starters, at 912 2/3. That flaw, of course, was masked by a brilliant bullpen. But Moore is wary of continuing to tax that bullpen in the future.

"It's unrealistic that we can put that much pressure on the back end of our bullpen over the course of 162 games," Moore said. "You can do it for a month. You can do it for the playoffs. You can do it for six weeks.

"But you can't for 162. We had [closer Greg Holland] for most of the 162 and he gave us everything he had. And when he went down in September, we had reinforcements. But we need more innings from the starters."

Moore also will have two immediate holes to fill at the corner-outfield spots, with Alex Gordon and Alex Rios both becoming free agents. Moore hopes to re-sign Gordon.

And Moore also hopes the Royals' nucleus of young players will continue to improve.

"I know that Eric Hosmer, Mike Moustakas, Salvador Perez, Alcides Escobar, Lorenzo Cain are all capable of having even more productive years," Moore said. "They all are trending upward.

"We're excited about our younger players in the Minor Leagues. Although we made two impactful deals at the Trade Deadline [giving up prospects such as Sean Manaea, John Lamb and Brandon Finnegan] that helped us win a world championship, we know that Cheslor Cuthbert is going to be a good player. We know Raul Mondesi is going to be a good player. We know [Bubba] Starling is going to be a good player.

"Miguel Almonte is going to be a quality Major League pitcher. Although we gave up some quality talent [in trades], we still have a nucleus of young talent in the Minors."

If the season started tomorrow, the Royals' rotation would likely be Edinson Volquez, Yordano Ventura, Danny Duffy and Kris Medlen, with Johnny Cueto and Jeremy Guthrie both free agents. Kansas City is still in search of a fifth starter.

"But the ingredient of our team remains: Right now, we got defenders all over the field," Moore said. "We just have to get starting pitchers who are going to compete, prepare, hold runners, field their position and attack the strike zone."

Jeffrey Flanagan is a reporter for Follow him on Twitter at @FlannyMLB.
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