Royals’ Moore praises player progress, reflects on 2018 while looking ahead to next season

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Kansas City Royals General Manager Dayton Moore spent more than 45 minutes with members of the media Thursday, answering questions about the 2018 Royals and a season that ended with a 58-104 record. He also looked ahead to the 2019 season.

Here are a few of the notes taken by FOX4’s Al Wallace during Moore’s season ending, and off-season beginning news conference:

Moore said he felt what jump-started the 2018 season after the All-Star Break was the fact that the organization stopped talking about the rebuild. He feels baseball teams and players are paid to win games at the major league level, and the Royals had more success when they concentrated on that.

Was a winning record in September a fluke? No. The Royals simply concentrated on winning, with whoever they put in the lineup. When the Royals broke training camp back in March, Moore did not “see” a 100-loss season. But it happened.

Among the clues he looks for when he tries to tell himself that the late season surge wasn’t a mirage? Progress and work habits. The Royals do not like to see minor league players who strike out a lot. That will keep a minor league offensive player in the minor leagues longer than anything. If you are going to win at the major league level, you have to be able to attack in different ways and win in multiple ways.

Moore feels good about Ned Yost coming back to manage the Royals in 2019, mainly because he knows he’s in 100 percent, not just 99.9 percent. The major issues for the Royals in the off-season are the continued development of its minor league system, and major league payroll.

What is the status of outfielder Bubba Starling? “That’s up to him,” said Moore. “He’s still on the 40 man roster, but I don’t know if he’ll be a baseball superstar.”

Moore also says he likes continuity on the Royals roster, and he feels that Royals fans want that, too. He enjoys watching ex-Royals players like Lorenzo Cain and Mike Moustakas on the roster of the Milwaukee Brewers, now playing in the National League Championship Series. He wants them to win it all.

The Royals farm system is a lot better than it was at the beginning of the season. Moore likes the Royals pitching staff as a whole, and his main concern is rebuilding a successful bullpen. He feels the Royals have internal options for both the rotation and bullpen to be successful.