Moore not worried about losing big-name stars

Moose, Hosmer, Cain and Escobar can be free agents following season

Moore not worried about losing big-name stars

PHOENIX -- Much has been made in the past year or so about the Royals' window of opportunity closing.

This is the last year the core of the Royals' 2015 World Series championship team is guaranteed to stay together. Kansas City has four potential big-name free-agents after the '17 season -- third baseman Mike Moustakas, first baseman Eric Hosmer, center fielder Lorenzo Cain and shortstop Alcides Escobar.

But Royals general manager Dayton Moore said at the Cactus League Media Day on Tuesday that he wasn't sweating the possibility of losing those players to free agency.

In fact, while Moore over the past year has conceded that the Royals likely won't sign them all, he said Tuesday it's possible the club could make a run at all four.

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When asked if going after all four players was a sudden shift in philosophy, Moore smiled and said, "Did I say that? We'll do what we can. Obviously, I'd like to sign everyone."

Moore then paused for a moment and added with another smile, "Then again, it's not my money."

Yet there seemed to be plenty of optimism from Moore that Kansas City will remain built to contend for years to come. He pointed out Tuesday that the Royals' revenue should stay strong, based on increased fan support. And he pointed out the strength of his farm system that will keep the team competitive.

And Moore also reiterated that the Royals have been pretty successful keeping their own talent, alluding to the contracts that Alex Gordon (four years, $72 million), Salvador Perez (five years, $52.5 million) and Danny Duffy (five years, $65 million) signed over the past 13 months.

In each case, Moore said, he was open and honest with what the club could afford with each player's agent. And, it helped that Gordon, Perez and Duffy truly wanted to remain with the Royals.

"I don't lose one minute of sleep over it," Moore said of this year's pending free agents. "We'll do everything possible that we can to re-sign our guys. If it works, it works."

But that task could get more difficult if Cain, Hosmer, Moustakas and Escobar have monster years.

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"If our players who are free agents have terrific seasons, and I hope they do, yeah, it's going to be more challenging to re-sign them," Moore said. "But that's fine.

"We've raised these players from the start of their careers. We will always pull for them, no matter if they are with us or with someone else."

Moore has faith in his process of trying to re-sign his homegrown players, or ultimately replacing them with the next wave of talented players in the system. Several of those players -- shortstop Raul Mondesi, outfielder Hunter Dozier, first baseman Ryan O'Hearn -- appear to be getting close to contribute.

Moore also doesn't sing the small-market blues regarding financial limitations.

"That's why it's so important for us to sign players in the Draft, internationally, and to develop them to keep our farm system strong," Moore said. "We're always going to be an organization that relies heavily on our scouting and developmental systems. That's who we are."

Jeffrey Flanagan has covered the Royals since 1991, and for since 2015. Follow him on Twitter @FlannyMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.