The Royals are 2-1 and their starting pitchers have given up one run in 20 innings, so you'll understand if there's a little buzz around the club. And as Sam Mellinger writes, expectations for the Royals have seldom been higher (not since the early 1990s, at least).
- The Royals' focus has been investing time and money on the amateur draft -- it's thought that they spent more money on last year's picks than any team ever -- and on player development.
From spending $91 million on free agents Gil Meche and José Guillen, to trading for Kyle Davies (who blanked the Chicago White Sox for seven innings Thursday) and Coco Crisp (who hit the go-ahead homer in the ninth), everything the Royals are doing at the big-league level is meant as a bridge of sorts to when the organization's investment in the infrastructure of the minor leagues begins to show.
"Our constant balance is improving our big-league club without sacrificing what we're doing below,” Moore says. "Look, I understand. I like getting some sleep at night, and that certainly is a product of things going well (with the major-league team). But we can't be so consumed that we forget about what's most important, and that's long term.”
Moore knows this other side of it, too. He knows the expectations that are created by adding nine new players and $12 million of payroll.
Internet message boards that used to fill with positive fan comments now question why Moore signed Kyle Farnsworth -- who didn't help himself by blowing an eighth-inning lead in the season opener -- for two years and $9 million.
Dayton Moore made a big mistake when he signed Jose Guillen for three years and $36 million. That contract suggested -- and continues to suggest, each day -- that Moore lacks a basic familiarity with objective analysis. Moore made a small mistake when he signed Farnsworth, whose skills, impressive as they might be -- in, say, South Korea -- are not worth anything like $9 million on the open market.
If the Royals played in the American League East, Moore's propensity for such mistakes would take the Royals off the board for as far into the future as you might care to look. But they don't play in the AL East, and if Moore really does build a superior farm system and picks up a little luck here and there -- well, a Royals fan can dream a little. Especially if Davies keeps pitching like this.