Dayton Moore pulled off a major acquisition when he landed ace Johnny Cueto from the Reds on Sunday, but he didn’t rest on his laurels after that trade. Today, he finalized another major deal when he acquired versatile veteran Ben Zobrist from the A’s. Earlier today, I asked the Royals GM if he was under a mandate from ownership to go for broke this summer and make major moves.
“We always have a mandate to put the best team on the field,” Moore told reporters on the conference call. “Certainly the play of our team and how our players have responded gives us more motivation to make moves, but we’ve always tried to do whatever could at the deadline to make our team better for the second half, even when we weren’t competing.”
While Cueto came to K.C. before Zobrist, the GM explained that talks with Oakland actually started before the discussions with Cincinnati. There are still a few days to go until the trade deadline but Moore doesn’t expect to make another blockbuster deal between now and Friday. Like a responsible Christmas shopper, it appears that Moore has avoided the rush to get the top shelf prizes. Interestingly, however, he says the timing of it all was happenstance.
“You’ll have to speak with [Reds GM] Walt [Jocketty] and [A’s GM] Billy [Beane], but for me, they were just satisfied with the package that was offered,” said Moore. “I don’t think anybody is gonna execute a deal unless they’re as satisfied as they can be. When we enter into these types of discussions for a player we want we are very aggressive. We have a good idea of what we want and what we want to provide as far as the package goes and what they desire…No sense in stringing things out and creating unnecessary tension. If you know at the end of the day that you’re going to get to a certain place, you might as well get there.”
Zobrist is expected to join his new teammates “in a day or two,” and when he gets in the mix, he’ll be slotted in left field rather than second base, where he’ll be filling in for the currently injured Alex Gordon. There’s plenty of work ahead for Zobrist, Cueto, and the Royals, but it sounds like their GM is done with the heavy lifting for the week.