While most of the country was out shopping for bargains on Black Friday, watching college football with the family or traveling to and from holiday gatherings, some rare and fairly significant day-after-Thanksgiving baseball news was breaking.
Beginning in Kansas City, the Royals announced a two-year contract extension for general manager Dayton Moore.
#Royals and GM Dayton Moore agree to a two-year extension, which runs through the 2016 season.
— Kansas City Royals (@Royals) November 29, 2013
Aside from the odd timing of the announcement, Sam Mellinger of the Kansas City Star notes the extension comes as no surprise. With the Royals coming off their first winning season since 2003 and highest win total (86) since 1989, owner David Glass wants to keep the continuity going with Moore and manager Ned Yost, who also received a two-year extension in October.
It makes perfect sense from a baseball perspective. As Mellinger also mentions, the stability sheds a more positive light on the organization as a whole, beginning right at the top with Glass.
Moore will be the Royals’ general manager through 2016 — or paid to be the GM that long, at least — and the move was both necessary and justified. General managers without job security can lean too hard on win-now, sacrificing some long-term strength.
Even if Glass was convinced that wouldn’t be an issue with Moore, there is the simple fact that letting a GM go lame-duck a year after the franchise’s most successful season in a generation is the kind of nonsense the Royals used to do. It’s the kind of thing that always made baseball men in other organizations hesitant to work for the Royals.
Moore, 46, was named the Royals GM early in the 2006 season and was charged the task of turning around a team that finished 62-100. Though success was barely measurable early in his tenure, the Royals have steadily increased their win total every season since 2009. As many outlets have noted, the extension allows Moore to see through his 8-10 year rebuilding plan that he outlined (and most dismissed) when hiring manager Ned Yost during the 2010 season.
"Our goal by 2013, 2014 is to have the majority of our 25-man roster be homegrown players," Moore said. "That's what we're shooting for, that's been the long-term plan all along. We were brought in here to build a farm system, build an international program and be aggressive in the Draft, and that's what we're continuing to do."
For all that he’s done that’s made us scratch our heads — including giving starting pitcher Jason Vargas a four-year, 32 million contract last week — Moore’s long-term vision has come true. Aside from starting pitchers Vargas, James Shields and Jeremy Guthrie, the Royals core is mostly made up of homegrown players or prospects that were acquired before reaching the majors. Meaningful players, too. The organization's arrow is undeniably pointing up, and for that he deserves credit.
That said, it's understandable that many Royals fans are still holding out on Moore. The last thing they wanted to hear is the general manager saying an 86-win season where your team missed the playoffs felt "like we've won the World Series." Regardless of how Moore intended that statement to come across, it doesn't inspire confidence.
• San Francisco Giants re-sign Ryan Vogelsong to one-year contract
The Giants say their starting rotation is set after re-signing 36-year-old right-hander Ryan Vogelsong to a one-year contract worth around $5 million. Vogelsong was expected to settle for much less coming off a disappointing 2013 that saw him post a 5.73 ERA in 19 starts. In fact, San Francisco declined Vogelsong's $6.5 million earlier this month, but his new deal would allow him to exceed that number through performance-based incentives.
It's a great deal for Vogelsong, obviously, and for the Giants it ensures they won't have a huge turnover in the rotation. Tim Hudson, who signed a two-year, $23 million deal on Nov. 18, will be the only new arm on opening day barring injury. He'll fill the void left by Barry Zito. The Giants also re-signed Tim Lincecum to a two-year, $35 million deal last month
Matt Cain and Madison Bumgarner round out the experienced and battle-tested rotation.
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