GM Moore sees '20 as stepping-stone year

September 28th, 2020

KANSAS CITY -- Royals general manager Dayton Moore conducted his end-of-the-season Zoom call with reporters on Monday, and the main thing he exhibited was hope.

The Royals, coming off two straight 100-plus-loss seasons, finished 26-34 under new manager Mike Matheny, and won 12 of their final 18 games. Who knows how they would have finished in a 162-game schedule?

On the Royals' performance in 2020:

Moore: “You don’t have the sample size that we’re accustomed to. But the most important thing was the transition of our young pitchers and how our bullpen emerged, which has given us a lot of hope. We don’t have a full 162-game sample size. We don’t have that luxury. Can they handle the multiple back-to-backs? Everyone in your bullpen gets tested in a 162-game season. But I think we would all agree that there is some talent in that bullpen.

“We can still add to that. We’ve got some guys that are free agents. Obviously, Trevor Rosenthal isn’t with us. Greg Holland is a free agent. Ian Kennedy is a free agent. There are some things to build on. We need to supplement some of those younger guys with veteran guys.

Does Moore think the Royals need more offense?

Moore: “We definitely need more on-base guys. We need more quality ABs from two other spots in the lineup. This time last year, we talked about lengthening the lineup out. We did that with Maikel Franco. Alex Gordon will be missed. We’ll need to upgrade there as we wait for the arrival of [prospects] Kyle Isbel or Khalil Lee.

“We didn’t get a chance to see [trade acquisition Franchy] Cordero the way we wanted to. There is a lot of ability there. We’ve had our eye on him for five years. We tried to work deals the last three years to get him in Kansas City.”

The Royals have pending free agents after 2021 in Jorge Soler, Danny Duffy and Salvador Perez. What is the team’s strategy for those players?

Moore: “We have strong relationships with all those players, but we need more information. As you know, we have to rely on our farm system to produce talent."

What about the future up the middle with Adalberto Mondesi and Nicky Lopez?

Moore: “We love the combination of Mondi and Lopez -- that creativity. But you also need production out of shortstop and second base. You can live with one or the other [not hitting]. We expect Mondesi to be more the player he showed the last three weeks. But Nicky needs to show that pesky hitter that he is. But we can’t forget it takes time.”

What did Moore think of Matheny’s first season as manager?

Moore: “I love working with Mike. I really do. Everybody enjoys working with Mike Matheny. He is different than anyone else I’ve worked with. He has a lot of great qualities like Bobby Cox and Ned Yost do. And he is his own man. He is extremely focused on winning.”