KANSAS CITY, Mo. — If the Royals’ blockbuster trade with the Tampa Bay Rays on Sunday accomplishes anything, at least in the Royals’ minds, it will inspire a major mood makeover within the organization. And that mood makeover already has started with Moore and manager Ned Yost.
Moore and Yost were all smiles at Wednesday morning’s press conference introducing newly acquired pitchers James Shields and Wade Davis.
“I’ve been feeling pretty good the last couple of days,” Yost said, grinning. “It just got to the point where we wanted to win baseball games. These two guys have winning flowing in their veins.
“What they’re going to bring to the Kansas City Royals is something we’re all going to enjoy. With the guys (we have in the rotation) it makes you feel that every single day when you walk in the clubhouse we have a chance to win. That’s a good feeling. That’s a feeling I haven’t had in a long, long time.”
Yost even suggested that the days of him purposely trying to be anonymous around Kansas City might be near an end.
“James and I left the hotel this morning and went to Starbucks,” Yost said, “and for two years every time I’ve ordered at Starbucks and you have to give them your name, I’ve always told them ‘Frank’ because I didn’t want to be standing there when they yell out ‘Drink for Ned! Your order’s ready.’ I didn’t want everyone looking at me because we lost 90 games.
“So now, I told James that I’m not going to have to use ‘Frank’ much longer.”
The Royals’ transformation this offseason — in addition to Shields and Daivs, the Royals acquired RHP Ervin Santana in a trade and signed RHP Jeremy Guthrie — has been unprecedented in club history, and has signaled to their fan base that they are in “go” mode.
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“You can’t just wait two or three years down the road and hope your winning opportunity shows up,” Moore said. “We felt the time was right. We couldn’t just keep waiting for this guy or that guy to come up from the minors, or sit and hope for a year where you avoid injuries. You have to change the culture right now and start winning.”
Yost, entering his third full season as manager, said he never doubted this point in time would come.
“I knew it would get to this point because we had a great young core of young players in the minors when I got here,” he said. “We knew they had to develop at this level and you’re seeing it. We do a lot of things right. We can hit, and we have great defense, and we have a solid bullpen. The one thing that was lacking was starting pitching. We have that now.
“To me, the turning point came at the All-Star Game when you saw this town sell out the celebrity softball game and the Futures Game and you had all that excitement. This is a baseball town. I felt, and Dayton felt, that the time was right to put us in a position to win every single day for them, the fans.
“It’s going to be phenomenal in this town when we get that corner turned.”
Shields, the new Royals’ ace, has experienced such a turnaround before with the Rays.
“I’ve seen the transformation with these guys,” he said. “You can see the talent over the last couple of years. It was tough to pitch against them. Now, I’m part of them.
“It definitely is a transformation coming. We lost 96 games or so in Tampa in 2007 and then won something like 97 games in 2008. Bottom line is that this team really reminds me of those teams because the Royals are right on the brink of becoming successful for years to come. They’ve done the right things to be successful.
“We developed a chemistry in 2007 and 2008 (in Tampa) and we can surely do that here. For me, it’s about the chemistry. It’s about changing the culture.”
Davis is confident that he and Shields will help the Royals turn that corner.
“The one thing we bring to the table is we have experience about winning and about making the playoffs,” Davis said. “We want to bring that winning attitude to this team.”
And that new attitude will start at the top of the rotation, according to Davis.
“He’s a big personality,” Davis said of Shields. “He helps everyone in the clubhouse. He had a huge impact on me and everyone else around him. Ever since I’ve been with the (Rays), he’s helped the young guys. He points things out and then later on you go ‘You know, you were right.’ “
Shields said he has no issues with being “the guy” others look up to.
“It’s part of the challenge,” Shields said. “I can’t wait to get started. I think it’s going to be a great year for Royals fans.”