Moore 'not throwing up the white flag' on '17

GM says he believes Royals are postseason-caliber club

Moore 'not throwing up the white flag' on '17

NEW YORK -- Royals general manger Dayton Moore prefers to hold off until at least 40 games are played before making any proclamations during a season.

And with the Royals just past that marker and off to a sluggish start at 19-26 entering Wednesday night's game against the Yankees, Moore is even more adamant that this season's team is a postseason contender.

"My thought process hasn't changed," Moore told MLB.com. "I thought this was a playoff-caliber team coming out of Spring Training and I still think that way."

Moore shot down rumors of a potential fire sale of pending free agents ranging from Eric Hosmer to Jason Vargas last week. Trading away pieces for the sake of trading doesn't make sense, Moore said.

"You just don't know what can happen down the road," Moore said. "We could win 40 games in August and September and win the [American League Central].

"I'm not throwing up the white flag. We just go. We go and we play and we do everything we can as an organization to win every game. We strive to get better every day.

"We are going to remain focused on winning in 2017, and I mean throughout 2017. We believe we owe it to our players and to our fanbase. We'll remain laser-focused on winning."

Moore has been pleased with certain elements of this season's team, especially the power surge (52 home runs), as the Royals are on pace to shatter the club record of 168 in a season.

Moore, though, emphasized that the Royals need to be more versatile offensively.

"I like the added power, don't get me wrong," he said. "But you look back at the 2014 and 2015 teams, and those teams fought with everything they had to get on base and drive guys in. If there's one issue right now, it's runners in scoring position -- we're not doing well in that department."

The Royals are hitting .202 with RISP -- last in the Majors entering Wednesday.

"It'll even out over time," Moore said. "I believe this offense will prove that."

One element that has been missing is speed. Jarrod Dyson was traded away, Paulo Orlando was demoted to the Minors and then sustained a fractured shin, and Raul Mondesi was not able to hold onto his job at the Major League level.

"You still have to win games multiple ways," Moore said. "We haven't abandoned the speed element. We started the season with Raul Mondesi and Terrance Gore on the roster. We could still see them in the near future. We've got Billy Burns in the system. We'll have Paulo Orlando. We'd certainly have that speed element in September.

"A lot of baseball left. We've had some exceptional games where we executed at all levels. We've had games where we've played poorly in all phases. So we just need to be more consistent."

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