KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Royals fans hoping that general manager Dayton Moore was going to make a splashy deal at the non-waiver trading deadline that expired Thursday afternoon likely were disappointed when the team did not pull off any trade.
But Moore had hinted in the past week that the Royals weren’t likely to pull off a blockbuster, suggesting that the Royals were not "one player away" from improving their offense. Moore said the Royals instead needed numerous players on their own team to step up their contributions.
And so the deadline came and went Thursday, and Royals fans watched helplessly as other teams in the playoff chase — Detroit, Seattle, Oakland — appeared to significantly upgrade their 25-man rosters.
"Nothing really presented itself that was going to work at the end of the day," Moore said. "The acquisition cost (was too high). We were prepared to make moves with prospects.
"But at the end of the day, there wasn’t any players that we could get our hands on that would have been an upgrade to what we have."
The Royals did have interest in Texas outfielder Alex Rios. But a source close to the situation said Thursday morning, "It just doesn’t seem like Texas is that interested in dealing him now."
In fact, Rios did not get traded.
Meanwhile, Detroit landed Tampa Bay pitcher David Price, the Mariners got Tigers outfielder Austin Jackson, and Oakland landed pitcher Jon Lester and outfielder Jonny Gomes.
Moore’s immediate reaction focused on how much better the Tigers may have gotten.
"It’s a great rotation, that’s for sure," Moore said. "We found out (about the trade) obviously late. They did a tremendous job of getting the best players available."
Oakland, somewhat surprisingly, gave up power hitter Yoenis Cespedes, the type of power hitter the Royals likely could have used. But again, the price would have been high.
"Truthfully, it wasn’t an option for us," Moore said. "You look at the return and what we would have had to give up. We didn’t have a pitcher of that caliber (Lester) that we were willing to give up. We want to keep our pitching strong."
Finances also were a factor for the Royals. Many of the deals had money exchanging hands, and the Royals weren’t in the market to significantly increase their payroll.
"There’s an economic analysis taking place with every player," Moore said. "We’re not going to apologize for our market and what we can and can’t do. But certainly there are limitations.
"We still have to find ways to make our team better and look at players for who they are and not necessarily for the payroll factor. But it’s always a factor."
The Royals still will have an opportunity to make a deal after the non-waiver deadline. But any player that is dealt now must have secured waivers. That was the case last August when the Royals got Emilio Bonifacio from Toronto.
"There’s always going to be opportunities," Moore said. "Certainly it’s a little more difficult, but it has been done in the past. We’ll continue to look for ways to improve our team. We’ll continue to search."