Winter Meetings interview with Dayton Moore, Jed Hoyer

THE MODERATOR: Good afternoon, we completed a trade this afternoon with the Chicago Cubs, sending Wade Davis to the Cubs in exchange for Jorge Soler. We have Dayton Moore and Jed Hoyer at the table here to take your questions.

Q. Dayton, can you just tell us where you expect to use Soler, is it right field, DH, maybe a little bit of both and walk us through how this deal came about?
DAYTON MOORE: Yeah, a combination both. We obviously love his upside, love his power. Like the fact that we have some control for the next four years, potential right fielder as you know, we have several players that are perhaps, you know, entering free agency after the 2017 season.

So this was an important deal for us, a tough deal, trading an All-Star closer in Wade Davis, somebody who has been just so instrumental to our success. We certainly wouldn't have been able to win and win a World Series without Wade. But the fact that we have the DH, we can utilize him in both spots.

Q. How does he rate defensively in your mind? I know he's got a plus arm. Does he need some improvement perhaps in his outfield skills?
DAYTON MOORE: Well, we see him as an average right fielder with a chance to get better. We put great faith in Rusty Kuntz, who works with our outfielders and baserunners. We feel there's upside there, as well.

Q. Was there any impetus from this with the new CBA rules, knowing you'd only get after the first round, if he signed for 50 million or more and left as a free agent in a year, or do you think this would have happened anyway?
DAYTON MOORE: I think it would have happened anyway. That didn't really factor in with this particular deal, no.

Q. Does it change your thinking for the guys you have?
DAYTON MOORE: Well, every situation's different. You have to evaluate it one at a time. But not necessarily. I mean, we're not going to feel any pressure to move forward with any of our players based on the new CBA. We think it's a tremendous deal for baseball and we don't see it affecting the Royals in a negative way.

Q. Jed, does this automatically make Davis your closer or are there other moves you're planning that might change that?
JED HOYER: No, that's certainly the thought. We did this deal, putting Wade Davis in the ninth inning, obviously he's been an All-Star closer and he's closed out world championships and we're excited to get him.

That doesn't say that we don't have a lot of confidence in the other guys in our bullpen. Hector did a great job as a closer. Pedro Strop has had a really good run with us in the eighth inning, Edwards, Justin Grimm.

But one thing we learned this year, and I know Dayton learned it in '14 and '15, is when you play that extra month, it's really hard on your bullpen. It's really hard on your whole pitching staff. The more good relievers we can add that, the more we can add that length and have versatile weapons, the better.

And so Wade is going to pitch the ninth, but we really like the other guys we have, and hopefully this can take a little bit of the burden off all of them, hoping to play that seventh month.

Q. With so many free agents like you referred to there, it was important to get a big league piece back in there. How do you balance still wanting to win this year with the reality of what you face next year?
DAYTON MOORE: That's the challenge, obviously, but we think it's important to try to accomplish both. We certainly expect to win in 2017; put a competitive team on the field that can compete to win our division.

It's going to be a challenge. But we're excited that Jorge can be a part of that, and as I said before, it gives us control for the future, and because we don't want to -- we want to continue to win. We want to win consistently in Kansas City and Jorge certainly gives us a better opportunity to do that.

Q. Curious what your understanding is about Davis's flexor tendon. He missed some time a couple times over the summer, where that is now, and how comfortable -- obviously you're very comfortable with it, but what makes you comfortable with that?
JED HOYER: Yeah, we felt really good about it. Obviously we took a look at the file, looked at the MRIs he took in July and they looked really good.

And then Dayton actually offered, he said, I want you to feel good about this as a deal. Dayton is a dream to work with.

So we had our trainer put his hands on him today, give him a physical and he checked out great. He looks fantastic and ready to go. So I think any time you're trading a guy like Jorge Soler, you want to make sure you feel really terrific about what you're getting in return. Both of the medical file process and through put being our hands on Wade this morning, we felt really good about it.

Q. If both you guys could address it, because you have some experience with it, Dayton, the last couple years you've had to manage success coming off very successful seasons and going into the next one with different expectations. Jed, you went through it in Boston, and you're going to face having won everything there is to win and trying to replicate that. What are the difficulties? What have you learned about that, essentially managing success?
JED HOYER: Yeah, I think that it's definitely a different set of challenges. I think Joe will do a masterful job of dealing with that, the motivation factor; and also dealing with the fact that you do have to do things a little bit different coming into spring training and maybe the early part of next season. We played into mid October in 2015 and then obviously into November in 2016.

So I do think we have to think about how that affects all of our players, not just the pitchers, but all the players, and try to be creative in how we give them rest, try to be creative in when they start their work outs and stuff like that.

There's no question, and this deal obviously shows that. We expect to play for a long time again this year, and we want to plan accordingly, and so we've got a tough road ahead, like everyone does, but we do have to plan for playing that seventh month, and it does require some lengthy discussions and some creativity on the front end.