KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Royals owner David Glass gave general manager Dayton Moore a vote of confidence two weeks ago despite one of the team's worst seasons in years.
Apparently, he meant it.
Kansas City extended Moore's contract through the 2014 season on Monday, tacking on three more years after he exercised an option for 2011. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
"Although it has been a disappointing season, I believe we are heading in the right direction and Dayton is an important part of the process," Royals president Dan Glass said.
Moore succeeded Allard Baird in May 2006 and has made gradual progress rebuilding the Royals, winning 69 games his first full season as GM, 75 last year. Kansas City went into this season loaded with expectations, picked by some to win its first division title since winning the 1985 World Series.
The year at least started well.
Feeding off the buzz of Zack Greinke's dominance and the excitement of playing in renovated Kauffman Stadium, the Royals got off to their best start in years, leading the AL Central after the first month of the season.
Things went south in a hurry, though, thanks to injuries and inconsistencies.
Kansas City lost third baseman Alex Gordon to hip surgery in April, center fielder Coco Crisp to shoulder surgery in June and shortstop Mike Aviles, last year's team MVP, to Tommy John surgery in July. All-Star closer Joakim Soria also spent time on the DL and right fielder Jose Guillen is expected to rejoin the team this week from a knee injury caused by putting on a shin guard.
Once the losing started, the Royals couldn't make it stop. Plagued by weak hitting, sporadic defense and a bullpen that seemed to find a new way to fail every night, Kansas City spiraled quickly to the bottom of the division. The Royals entered Monday's game at Oakland with the second-worst record in baseball at 50-80 and were 19 games behind AL Central-leading Detroit.
Moore's job was thought to be in jeopardy. Instead, he got an extension.
"I was surprised when it was brought up to me," he said via conference call. "I always try to keep a positive attitude and be upbeat, but I've been hurting over our organization -- it's troubling to see us lose and struggle. But I believe everything we do has to be with the mindset of what is best for the Kansas City Royals today and in the long term."
Moore's reward wasn't for what the team has done this season. It's for the direction he has it headed.
He's built up a weak farm system, making it one of the best in baseball -- at least at the lower levels. One of the reason the Royals struggled so much after the injuries hit was because they didn't have the talent at Triple-A Omaha to fill in the holes. Kansas City is well-stocked at Double-A and below, so that shouldn't be a problem in a couple of years, when those players are ready for the big leagues.
The Royals also have become bigger players in the Latin American market. Once one of the lowest-spending teams in the region, Moore helped beef up Kansas City's presence in Latin America, has it at least keeping up with the other teams instead of lagging well behind.
This season was supposed to be the one where everything fell into place. It didn't quite work out, but at least the future looks a little better.
"Regardless of when my opportunity ends in Kansas City -- hopefully I'll be an old man when it does -- I want to leave knowing the organization is in a better place," Moore said. "We got the opportunity to build on the success Allard Baird had, and the next person who gets this challenge and opportunity hopefully can build on the success we've had."
Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press
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