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GM Dayton Moore Talks Royals

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Kansas City Royals general manager Dayton Moore fielded a variety of questions in a chat for the Kansas City Star. Here are the highlights from the chat:

On improving the rotation:

Dayton Moore: We will look internally first - we do feel we have some strong candidates. We will evaluate the trade market, and finally, look at free agency. That would be the methodology behind us acquiring starting pitching. Other than Detroit, every team in baseball will be focused on starting pitching. We recognize the importance of a strong rotation, and our baseball operations department will evaluate every opportunity to improve us in that area. We have financial flexibility over the next 1 to 3 years to potentially make an impact signing or impact trade for a front-line starter who is compensated well.

The rotation is currently constructed with Felipe Paulino, Bruce Chen, Everett Teaford, Luis Mendoza, and Vin Mazzaro. Should we expect major changes to the rotation for 2012?

Does pitching prospect Mike Montgomery have a legit chance to make the 2012 rotation?

Dayton Moore: Absolutely. His last start in the playoffs, his swing-and-miss percentage of pitches in the strike zone was among the highest of any minor-league pitcher all year. We felt this time last year that Mike would legitimately compete for a spot in our rotation in spring training of 2012, and he has done nothing to dissuade us from our expectation. His change-up is a full grade better than last year, so there have been a lot of good predictors for him going forward.

Baseball America ranked left-handed pitcher Mike Montgomery the 19th best prospect in baseball before the 2011 season. However, Montgomery has struggled with command this year in Class Triple-A Omaha.

On Nate Adock's 2011 success and future with the team:

Dayton Moore: He's been amazing. What jumps out is his poise. He's gone, at times, with a huge gap between appearances. He's come in and thrown strikes. He'll pitch in the Arizona Fall League. We'll evaluate what he does there and at spring training. It's not out of the question that he's on our team next year. We will give him the opportunity to compete as a starter and evaluate his role from there.

Adock, 23, was acquired from the Seattle Mariners last December in the Rule 5 draft. He made the jump from Advanced-A ball to the majors this year.

What do you think your biggest mistake as Royals GM has been?

Dayton Moore: Since I began in baseball, we all make mistakes every year - no matter your role - that someone could justify you being replaced. There have been mistakes I've made personally, from hiring personnel to signing players. We focus on when we do make mistakes, we try to fix them and move forward. At the time, when decisions were made based on the information that I had, we felt and I felt it was the right thing to do for our baseball team. You always look back and evaluate what you did wrong, where you got off track, and try not to repeat the same mistakes. I was probably over-aggressive the first two, three years in free agency. But I felt we needed to change the perception of how we did business. We needed to demonstrate that we were going to be very aggressive in every talent pool. Certainly, free agency is one of them. But I was probably over-aggressive, tried to force things too much. I have tried to be patient over the last 2 to 3 years. Just focus on the task at hand.

Perhaps Moore is talking about the 5-year/$55 million contract he dished out to pitcher Gil Meche.

On landing an ace or two #2 starters this offseason:

Dayton Moore: All of the above. That being said, I doubt there will be a No. 1 starter available. It's very important to build on our strengths, which are potentially our bullpen, and continue to be aggressive with strengthening our rotation through our current group of players, including the pitchers who are performing at the minor-league level. We will pursue opportunities through trades.

Click here to read all the questions Moore fielded during the chat.