Moore still looking for pitcher to lead rotation

Moore still looking for pitcher to lead rotation

Moore still looking for pitcher to lead rotation
NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- As the hours dwindled down on the Winter Meetings, Royals general manager Dayton Moore was sharpening his focus on his primary target: A top-of-the-rotation starting pitcher.

"I think our lineup is solidified with who we are and what we're trying to do with the future. There's stability there," Moore said early Wednesday night. "Our sense and our focus is simply improving from the top down [in the pitching staff]. We want to improve what we currently have."

As the annual baseball convention neared its final day at the Opryland Hotel, there had been scarce movement on signings or trades for such front-line pitchers as Zack Greinke, Anibal Sanchez, Ryan Dempster, Kyle Lohse, James Shields or R.A. Dickey.

And it's that type of pitcher that intrigues Moore. He's not interested in spending millions or swapping prime lineup talent for No. 3, 4 or 5 pitchers.

"We want pitchers that have the mindset of a No. 1 starter where they give us innings," Moore said. "And they compete and they prepare and they expect to win. So we're going to continue to develop and acquire pitchers with those kinds of ingredients."

But the competition is fierce as agent Scott Boras, who represents Lohse, pointed out to reporters late Wednesday.

"I think for all the starters, those guys that can fill No. 1 roles, it's pretty aggressive," Boras said. "I think we've met with I don't know how many teams the last three days, but every team is telling you [they] need a starter. And I think everybody is waiting for the cascade of that market to kind of unfold. And once it does, I think you'll see a lot of things happen more rapidly."

What makes a No. 1 pitcher?

"I think that's a guy that's pitched like a No. 1 the last three years," Boras said. "Certainly Kyle falls into that. Greinke falls into that. Certainly guys that are young and that have age and velocity. Sanchez had a good postseason."

Rumors of a "mega-deal," a deal involving multiple teams, including the Royals, swept through the vast hotel on Wednesday. Other teams supposedly involved included Tampa Bay, Texas, Cleveland and Arizona.

"I'm not aware of any mega-deal," Moore said.

Multi-team deals are naturally complex and could take days or weeks to construct, long after the baseball execs have gone back home.

Meantime, the Royals were focusing on their single-minded quest for a premium-quality starting pitcher. Could something happen before Moore leaves Nashville on Thursday morning?

"It might," he said.