Kansas City general manager Dayton Moore. (Getty Images)
Finding Red Sox connections on one side of the American League Championship Series – over with the Orioles — isn’t difficult.
You have reliever Andrew Miller, infielder Kelly Johnson, perhaps outfielder Quintin Berry, and, of course, former Sox general manager Dan Duquette.
Kansas City? Not so easy.
There is however one prominent name with the Royals who almost played an enormous role in Red Sox history: Dayton Moore.
It was nine years ago that the Kansas City general manager ‘ and then-Atlanta Braves assistant GM ‘ almost became the man who ran the show for the Red Sox.
“We always like to confirm our judgment about people,” said Red Sox president Larry Lucchino Thursday. ‘”It pleases me that a guy like this got his chance to make good, and it sort of confirms that maybe we were on the right track.’”
The track that Lucchino and the Red Sox found themselves on following the ‘05 season was one that possibly could have landed Moore as Theo Epstein‘s replacement.
Moore, — who has been the Royals GM since ‘08 — was brought in for an interview by the Red Sox during Epstein’s hiatus (which was brought on by a dispute with Lucchino over power within the organization).
While his name wasn’t well known at the time, Moore did have an ally within the Red Sox decision-making power structure.
“He was a guy who [former assistant to the GM] Bill Lajoie had touted from time to time to me,” Lucchino said. “During that [strange time], I was talking to Bill during that period.
“We had come to trust Bill’s judgment and experience. During that period he had pressed for us to interview Dayton Moore, and we did. He was a player personnel guy, but he had no GM experience or even administrative experience that I could remember. He was a player evaluator, which is of course what I consider to be the most important job when hiring a guy. How to evaluate player talent is No. 1 on the list.”
Moore had made his mark with the Braves working under longtime GM John Schuerholz. And while the Red Sox brought in others during Epstein’s absence ‘ such as former Montreal general manager Jim Beattie ‘ the then-38 year old was perhaps the most intriguing of the bunch for the Sox.
“He seemed like a precise kind of guy, and you add that to his reputation as an evaluator, you see someone who is going to almost inevitably be a GM,” Lucchino noted.
In the end, the uncertainty of the situation was not conducive to making the hire.
Sometime after the interview, Moore took his name out of consideration, with the Red Sox ultimately filling in the Epstein-free gap with assistant GMs Jed Hoyer and Ben Cherington.
Clouding the process was also a divide within the Red Sox upper-management/ownership as to whether or not to move on from Epstein at al from the time. (“Some of us thought about it,” said Lucchino when asked if there was an impetus to hire a GM from outside the organization during Epstein’s leave.)
“It was all part of the unusual dynamic that was going on at that point,” Lucchino said. “If it was a clean, simple process I think you would have had an even better shot.”
Moore would get his shot with his hometown Royals. And after a somewhat rocky road (toiling through four losing seasons before the last two campaigns), he finds himself in a pretty good place.
(To listen to Dayton Moore’s appearance on this season’s “Trade Deadline Show” click here.)