HomeSportsRoyals fire Dayton Moore: 'I definitely expect to stay in baseball'

Royals fire Dayton Moore: ‘I definitely expect to stay in baseball’

Dayton Moore, the architect of the 2015 World Series champion Kansas City Royals but the steward of a franchise in the midst of its sixth consecutive losing season, has been relieved of his role as president of baseball operations. Royals owner John Sherman announced the resignation at a press conference on Wednesday afternoon, in what could be the first in a series of sweeping changes for a team that falls well short of expectations in 2022.

“Dayton revived this franchise. It wasn’t in a good place,” Sherman said Wednesday. “Today I want to make sure my feeling is gratitude.”

Moore has been overseeing the Royals since 2006. JJ Picollo, his longtime lieutenant, took over as general manager towards the end of the 2021 season. Sherman said on Wednesday that Picollo will take over the baseball operations division in the future.

“I’m very grateful for the opportunity,” Moore told the athletic. “I am proud of our culture and what we have achieved in Kansas City. I’m disappointed we couldn’t make it through. But I have faith in John Sherman, JJ Picollo and the entire baseball operations department to pull it off.”

Moore’s era will end with a club brimming with intriguing talent like 22-year-old shortstop Bobby Witt Jr., but struggling to compete at the highest level. The fate of manager Mike Matheny, whose 2023 option was exercised by the Royals on March 31, is also under discussion, with Sherman indicating that any decision about Matheny’s future will be left to Picollo. The Royals started 22 games in first place in the American League Central on Wednesday. The team has struggled to develop a second generation to replace the wave of homegrown players such as Alex Gordon, Eric Hosmer and Mike Moustakas, who drove the team back-to-back American League pennants in 2014 and 2015.


The rebuilding of the Royals had to be built on pitching. What went wrong?

When he arrived in 2006, Moore inherited a wreck of a franchise. The Royals hadn’t reached the postseason since 1985. With meticulous patience, Moore and his cohorts turned the club into a champion. But the franchise struggled to transition into a new phase after players like Hosmer, Moustakas and Lorenzo Cain left free agency.

The team had pinned its hopes on a second chance at the fight on a collection of pitchers taken in the first two rounds of the 2018 draft. Five years later, only one, Brady Singer, did well in the majors, leading to questions about the viability of the team’s development system, a necessity for a franchise that refuses to spend lavishly on free agency. Before buying the Royals in 2019, Sherman was a minority investor in the Cleveland Guardians, who have built a pitching pipeline despite similar budget constraints.

Moore, 55, came to Kansas City after a long internship with the Atlanta Braves. He started his career as a college coach and referred to that history when discussing his future.

“I definitely expect to stay in baseball,” Moore said. “I want to stay in baseball. I am a coach by nature. One of the things I was criticized for was staying with players too long. But coaches stick with the players. That’s what they do. That’s how they are put together.”

Additional reporting by Rustin Dodd
(Photo by Dayton Moore: Ed Zurga/Getty Images)

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