With trade deadline approaching, Royals GM Dayton Moore in no hurry to make a move

With trade deadline approaching, Moore looking to 2022

Lynn Worthy
The Kansas City Star (TNS)
Kansas City Royals general manager Dayton Moore discussed the teams trade deadline plans on Tuesday.

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The rumors will likely continue until Friday's Major League Baseball's trade deadline, but Kansas City Royals general manager Dayton Moore certainly doesn't seem at all anxious to make a move.

Moore's focus and that of the baseball operations brain trust that has gathered in Kansas City this week has been on how best to shape the club for success next season and beyond. If Moore pulls the trigger on trade this week, that will most certainly serve as his guiding principle.

"I think anything that we would do at the deadline, regardless of what our record is, would be focused on that — how to be better in 2022," Moore said on Tuesday. "That is continuing as we go forward."

Friday at 3 p.m. Central time marks MLB's trade deadline. This time of year annually produces a flurry of transactions prompted by teams hopeful or desperate to augment their rosters, add depth and acquire talent to fill in holes created by injury or under performance.

The Royals entered Tuesday night's second game of their four-game series with the Chicago White Sox at Kauffman Stadium with a record of 43-55, bolstered by a recent six-game win streak. They sat 15 games back of the White Sox (59-41) in the AL Central and a long way from serious playoff contention.

While rumors continue to swirl around the idea of contending teams making overtures about acquiring Royals two-time All-Star infielder/outfielder Whit Merrifield, Moore indicated that he likely wouldn't be looking for prospects or minor-league talent in a potential deal for a player of Merrifield's profile.

The Royals' aim in any such deal would be to get back major-league caliber talent in order to deal away any of its players off of the major-league roster who are under contract for years to come and who are essentially pieces of the current club.

"That would be our preference," Moore said of wanting major-leaguers back in return. "Unless you've got such an impactful prospect going forward that there's no way you're going to pass up on a certain player. But if you're going to trade major-league talent that you control, you certainly — in my mind — want to try to get back other major-league players to multiply and spread out and utilize to build your roster in a more complete and balanced way. That would be the plan.

"It's difficult to do this time of year, as well all know, just because of the nature of what everybody is dealing with in the playoffs."

While Moore did not discuss the likelihood of trading any particular players, he made clear his stance on players under club control for multiple years.

He also reasserted that the club's general philosophy is to "listen intently" on players who will be free agents at the end of this season.

This year, that group includes players such as designated hitter/outfielder Jorge Soler and veteran left-handed starting pitcher Danny Duffy as well as a group of veteran players currently on one-year contracts such as relief pitchers Greg Holland and Ervin Santana and outfielders Michael A. Taylor and Jarrod Dyson.

Duffy remains on the injured list with a left flexor strain. He went on the IL on July 20. Moore said on Tuesday that he's hopeful Duffy can return within the next 3-4 weeks.

Moore didn't outright dismiss the idea of trading to acquire players from another organization's farm system, but he said any deal to acquire minor-league prospects would have to bring back prospects of a significantly higher caliber than what they've already got in their own system.

"We'll evaluate every potential deal that's out there, but I would categorize it as we've really got to be overwhelmed if we're going to move one of our key contributors to this team and those players that we feel are key contributors into the future," Moore said. "... We're going to continue to trust our scouting and our player development to produce prospects and not necessarily rely on trades to strengthen our farm system."

Moore said discussions continue with multiple teams, as is common this time of year, but his comments made it sound as though any reports of a deal being imminent or in the works at this point would be premature.

He said his focus remained on being "disciplined" with the Royals' current core and building on it.

"It's still very early," Moore said. "A lot of the things that get done, oftentimes as we know, are at the last minute."