(KANSAS CITY, Mo.)— Entering the 2018 season, Kansas City Royals general manager Dayton Moore knew the team was going to be in a rebuilding phase for the next few seasons, but he didn't think 2018 would be a 100-loss season.
"I really felt that 2019 would perhaps be a much more challenging year for us from a win-loss standpoint, not 2018," Moore said. "I did not see 100 losses in the 2018 season. I just didn't."
The Royals lost 104 games in 2018, but played above .500 baseball in the month of September.
"I think what jumpstarted the rebuild is that we quit talking about the rebuild," Moore said Thursday afternoon. "I think when you create a mindset that we're rebuilding, you somehow build in an excuse that it's okay to lose baseball games. It's not okay. Major League baseball players are paid to win."
Kansas City went 15-13 in the final month of the seasons and during Moore's Thursday afternoon press conference, he said he believes it's a sign of things to come.
"You couldn't tell it was the end of the season," Moore said. "They were excited to continue to keep pushing and keep playing and keep learning."
The winningest manager in Royals' franchise history, Ned Yost (687-736), will return on a 1-year deal for 2019 and Moore added he belives that can be helpful for the organization.
"We've always left it year-to-year since we won the World Series just because it takes so much commitment and energy to go through a Major League season," Moore said. "You want to make sure you're 100 percent ready—99.9 doesn't work. You've got to be all in."
While it was the Royals' first 100-loss season since 2006, Moore has a vision and a plan for this team and he knows it all starts in the Minor Leagues.
"Our number 1 goal is to make sure our farm system is back to the level where it was in 2010 and 2011—that's still going to be a main focus of ours," Moore said. "We've got to make sure our farm system is elite. We also have to get our Major League payroll under control, more manageable, so we're in a better position in 2020 and 2021."
KQ2 will continue to its recape of the 2018 Royals season in the coming days with more insight and reaction from Kansas City general manager Dayton Moore.