Baseball America runs a publication that began in 1982 that recognized an MLB franchise as the Organization of the Year annually. For 2014, the Kansas City Royals have earned that honor but it is not for catapulting themselves into the 2014 Fall Classic. Ever since the Royals hired general manager Dayton Moore, his intent was to rebuild the farm system from within to help thrust his team back into contention.
“Making it to the World Series by itself wouldn’t have made the Royals Baseball America’s 2014 Organization of the Year. It’s the path the Royals have taken that earned the award. General manager Dayton Moore and his staff built a World Series team the way they promised they would when Moore was hired, through scouting and player development,” said Baseball America.
(Dick Kaegel, MLB.com)
Building a model organization at the very core relies on a lot of talent being spread throughout the depth of all minor league affiliates. For some recent years, the Royals have been a darkhorse team for many pundits to finally make that playoff push. The club finally made the prediction of many finally become a reality in 2014. While they failed in capturing a World Series title, the club is loaded with young talent.
Players like first baseman Eric Hosmer, third baseman Mike Moustakas, outfielder Alex Gordon, and catcher Salvador Perez headline the the faces of the franchise. Former players like Billy Butler and Zack Greinke saw success as well, with the latter earning the American League Cy Young award in 2009. The one thing that Royals teams of recent years lacked was pitching but arms like Yordano Ventura and Danny Duffy helped fill the void. Once the Royals envisioned where they could potentially be, hoping as a playoff contender, the club was able to swing a trade for right-hander James Shields.
“Moore’s staff has also been a beacon of stability. There have been a few moves here and there, but the vast majority of Royals’ front office that was celebrating the pennant victory were the same people Moore brought aboard in 2006.”
Shields is currently a free agent. While the Royals have never been a club to spend big, it will be interesting to observe if they start investing in players on the open market to help fill in those missing pieces along the way. Losing the World Series to the San Francisco Giants brought a lot of excitement back to Kansas City baseball and the front office may need to do all they can to keep this window of opportunity open for as long as it can be.