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Moore focused on farm, flexibility for rebuild

MLB.com @FlannyMLB

KANSAS CITY -- After two recent World Series appearances and one championship, the Royals now are doing the best they can to embrace a rebuild. General manager Dayton Moore and manager Ned Yost have said repeatedly that they are energized by the notion of starting over.

And now they are hoping their fans will join along enthusiastically.

KANSAS CITY -- After two recent World Series appearances and one championship, the Royals now are doing the best they can to embrace a rebuild. General manager Dayton Moore and manager Ned Yost have said repeatedly that they are energized by the notion of starting over.

And now they are hoping their fans will join along enthusiastically.

"We've been through this before," Moore said. "And we're here again. What's different this time is that I think the rebuilding process won't take as long."

After winning the World Series in 2015 -- the Royals' first in 30 years -- Moore and his staff held on to the core of that team for two more seasons, hoping for a repeat of that magic. It didn't happen. Kansas City went 81-81 in '16 and 80-82 in '17. Time to move on.

Yost embracing Royals' rebuild

Moore has emphasized this offseason that his goals are to trim payroll and restock a farm system that was depleted by trades to shore up the title-winning team in 2015.

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"There's a very economic reality to what we're doing," Moore said. "Our payroll went up in 2016 and up in 2017 and the truth is, we didn't make the playoffs either year and we didn't meet our revenue needs because of that."

So far, Moore is on course with his objectives. The payroll, which exceeded $150 million in 2017, now is under $108 million.

Moore, who had nine free agents when the offseason began, has signed only one back -- shortstop Alcides Escobar returned on a one-year deal for $2.5 million base.

Video: Escobar on returning to Royals with one-year deal

Meanwhile, Moore traded left-handed reliever Scott Alexander to the Dodgers in a three-team trade with the White Sox. Moore was able to dump $9 million of Joakim Soria's salary to Chicago, while also acquiring potential right-handed starter Trevor Oaks and Minor League infield prospect Erick Mejia.

And last week, Moore moved designated hitter Brandon Moss (saving $5 million) to Oakland along with left-hander Ryan Buchter for right-hander Jesse Hahn and Minor League right-hander Heath Fillmyer.

"I believe we're on the right track," Moore said. "We're getting our payroll in check and we're adding to our farm system."

Royals acquire Hahn, prospect in trade with A's

Moore, though, still has hope that the Royals can sign free-agent first baseman Eric Hosmer, who could be a valuable piece going forward with the rebuilding stage. Hosmer, 28, could be a cornerstone in the clubhouse to guide the youth movement.

"I think we've made it clear what our thoughts are about Eric Hosmer," Moore said.

The Royals likely will continue to seek moves as Spring Training approaches. They still could deal right-hander Jason Hammel (owed $11 million) or reliever Kelvin Herrera (made $7,937,500 in 2017 and is in the final year of arbitration).

"There's still work to be done," Moore said. "We are a long way from shaping our roster."

Jeffrey Flanagan has covered the Royals since 1991, and for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter @FlannyMLB.

Kansas City Royals