The Kansas City Royals' 2022 season has taken the shape of something just about no one — even the club's staunchest critics — expected. As a result, rumors of significant change circulated throughout the year and turned into solidified action on Wednesday afternoon when Chairman and CEO John Sherman announced the firing of former president of baseball operations Dayton Moore.
Moore's run with the Royals, one that included back-to-back World Series trips in 2014 and 2015 and one world championship overall, was up-and-down. The club saw the highest of highs under his tenure, but it also struggled to remain even remotely relevant when not contending. There was seemingly either winning or losing in bunches for Kansas City under Moore, and the franchise's inability to successfully complete its current ongoing rebuild in a timely manner led to his dismissal from the team.
With that said, thoughts and emotions are running high both inside and outside the Royals organization. Was firing Moore the right move made at the right time? How will he be remembered? The Inside the Royals crew shares their analysis on the Wednesday news and their lasting memories of Moore.
Trevor Hahn: It'll be impossible to think of the Dayton Moore and not think of the 2014-15 teams and how special of a time that was. Banners fly forever, and he was instrumental in bringing that to this fan base. I hope he's remembered for that more than his final years. On the flip side, this is an exciting day for Royals fans. The page is clearly turning to a new era. This is only the start, but this is the first step in the Royals shifting their focus into the new age they have been seemingly ignoring for quite some time.
Trey Donovan: The obvious thing to remember about the Dayton Moore era is the 2014-15 seasons. Those years mean a lot to me for multiple reasons. Statcast and analytics were starting to be mainstream and the Royals were winning, and Moore was integral for those runs with his decisions on free agents, trades and some drafts. Banners fly forever, and Royals fans won't forget that.
Wednesday was a historic day for the Royals. A change in regime is what the fans have wanted for a bit now, and they got it. It was time for Moore to move on after years of stagnating. This next era of Royals baseball will be very interesting, and this upcoming offseason will be filled with intrigue. I just hope that fans praise Moore for his time, as he did one of the hardest things to do in sports: win a World Series as a true small-market team.
Mark Van Sickle: First and foremost, I’ll always remember the Dayton Moore era for the rise of the mid-2010 Royals. He took over an absolutely depleted franchise and built it into a contender centered on young homegrown talent. Some of the trades, the good and the bad, will also be remembered. There were also plenty of instances when trades should have been made but players were held on to for too long.
Of course, having losing seasons every year outside of those playoff runs is what will be remembered from start to finish of the Moore era. He had a heart for people and the community, and he will leave a lasting legacy in Kansas City through his involvement with local charities and organizations. There were far more lows than highs on the field during Moore’s tenure, but the flags flown in the outfield will forever be remembered by Royals fans.
Jerry Edwards: Moore’s tenure is a complex one because even the World Series team he built was flawed beyond all belief but won regardless. Nobody remembers that in his first draft as Royals GM, Moore selected Luke Hochevar over Evan Longoria, Max Scherzer, Tim Lincecum and Clayton Kershaw. In 2009, he took Aaron Crow over Mike Trout. In 2015, he selected Ashe Russell instead of Walker Buehler.
Moore did do something that I never thought would’ve been possible, though: he took the Royals to back-to-back World Series. The current Royals are a ship lost at sea, however, and it was apparent since 2016 that their captain had no map and no plan. Moore inherited a mess with a disinterested owner and now he leaves a mess he created. If J.J. Picollo isn’t allowed to clean house, or if he chooses not to clean house, nothing will change. The Moore era was wild but at the end of the day, the Royals are right back where they started when he took over. His legacy needs to be left to the history books where we can all look at it with rose-tinted glasses.
Jacob Milham: First of all, this is a complex feeling for me. I have only known the Kansas City Royals with Moore in some sort of leadership position. A lot won't change overnight, but this is certainly a transitional period for the Royals. I am excited about the team’s next chapter and watching successful Royals baseball again. Moore was ultimately his own worst enemy it seems, no matter how good of a guy he is. The players’ reaction to the news was really gut-wrenching, though. Moore has been a father figure to some of these players. The human element should not be forgotten with this news.
Christopher Tenpenny: First off, I want to reiterate what’s been said by many since 2015: Dayton Moore led the only small-market team to win a World Series in the last 30 years. Other small-market clubs have reached it and have had long-term success, but only the 2015 Royals have won it. We cannot forget that. However, this needed to be done. The Royals haven’t been close to an average team for five years. Every year the fan base is promised improvement, the team appears to be running in place. That falls on Moore. He was the face of the organization and shoulders the blame for the team's shortcomings.
This is bittersweet, but it could also be a defining moment for the future of the Royals. How John Sherman and J.J. Picollo direct this team moving forward will be in a Moore-less world. That's something we haven’t been able to say since 2006, and we shall see how it goes.
Jordan Foote: No matter where you land on the Moore spectrum, you must give him props for doing what no one else has been able to do in recent years. Constructing a World Series team — even if it was brief and even if some luck was involved — is extremely difficult in a baseball market like Kansas City. On the other hand, the Royals' lack of success outside of that slim contention window is the damning element that led to Moore being fired by the organization. His legacy will age quite well in due time but right now, Kansas City is tasked with picking up the pieces and accelerating its contention timeline once again. The next 12 months, the first without Moore since he joined the organization in 2006, are critical.