Even if half the Northeast has been covered in snow and will seemingly be continued to be covered in snow, Spring has officially sprung now that baseball is in their preseason mode down in Arizona and Florida. Minor League Ball's John Sickels from Minor League Ball had the opportunity to bring home a great interview with Kansas City Royals GM Dayton Moore. Check it out when you get a chance because Sickels doesn't hold back. For example:
SICKELS: I think the fans understand that, but there is concern about how you make that transition from having a strong farm system to actually seeing the results in the majors.
MOORE: Of course. The other day I was looking at some notes I made during organizational meetings early in 2007. We decided then that by 2012 or 2013, we wanted the majority of our players to be home-grown, from the farm system. We wanted a young core in place by that time. We knew it would take at least five years for that to happen.
The first thing we had to do was get a leadership team in place, quality scouts and player development people. We wanted there to be some organizational stability, with quality people. That is something they have in Minnesota and Colorado and Atlanta. We have that now.
Another issue was morale. It isn't just the fan base, we had to turn morale in the organization around, too. We want players when they get drafted or signed with the Royals to feel like they are joining the best organization in the game. Everyone has to buy into it, coaches, players, development. It is hard to keep morale up when the major league team is losing. It affects everyone whether you like it or not. Baseball is a pass/fail system, but we refuse to just roll over because we are in Kansas City. Other teams in our situation have shown that you can succeed and we will too.
It is starting to happen now. We already have the second-youngest 40-man roster in baseball. Only Cleveland is younger. And that doesn't include players like Moose or Hosmer or most of the young pitchers not on the roster yet. We are finally at sea level and we can see the future ahead. In some ways, I feel like this is my first year on the job, and that the next one-to-three years we will take things to where they need to be.
I mentioned earlier that it can take a player three or four years before he's fully comfortable in the majors. Look at Billy Butler. He's been a really good hitter so far, but he's improved every year and we think he's about to take that to another level. That's why we gave him the contract extension last month. We believe he's a key part of that core we're building. That's the process.