With baseball's best farm system at his disposal, Royals GM Dayton Moore acknowledged that he's willing to trade prospects for pitching, according to Bob Dutton of the Kansas City Star. Dutton says Moore would like to find a deal similar to the Ubaldo Jimenez trade, where the Indians acquired a talented, controllable starter in exchange for prospects.
"We'll be aggressive in trades," Moore said, looking ahead to the offseason. “We'll try to make a trade or two that helps us. We have to look internally first, but then we have to look at trades. Then, finally, we have to look at free agency. We’ll explore all of those options.... We have a minor league system that's ranked pretty good. So we'll see what's out there. We're a pitcher or two away."
This spring, Baseball America said Kansas City's minor league system was "among the best we've seen," with nine Royals ranking among BA's top 100 prospects. So while there's no doubt that the Royals have the depth to make such a move, you could contest Moore's assertion that the club is only "a pitcher or two away." Even in a weak AL Central division, with some of their youngsters starting to make an impact in the bigs, the Royals are 25 games below .500 this season.
Still, according to Dutton, club officials believe that the rotation doesn't need to be overhauled for 2012, and that adding a top-of-the-rotation starter to their current core is the key for a "rapid rise" in the standings.
ESPN.com's Buster Olney (Insider link) identifies the Mariners, Diamondbacks, and Braves as teams who might match up with the Royals, specifically naming Mike Moustakas as a player who could interest Atlanta as a successor to Chipper Jones at third base.