The Kansas City Royals fired general manager Allard Baird today and replaced him with Dayton Moore of the Atlanta Braves.
Moore, an assistant GM with one of the most successful organizations in baseball, will be asked to turn around one of the worst. He will take over the Royals on June 8 and be given complete control of baseball operations.
The team scheduled a conference call with Moore for this afternoon.
Saddled with poor drafts, trades that haven't worked out, a low budget and a seemingly aimless drift in direction, the floundering Royals are on pace to lose 100 or more games for the fourth time in five seasons.
The 39-year-old Moore is a native of Wichita, Kan., who joined the Braves as a scout in 1994 and became assistant general manager for baseball operations under John Schuerholz in 2005.
Atlanta has won a record 14 consecutive division titles, and Moore was considered a leading candidate to become GM of the Boston Red Sox last year until he withdrew after being invited for a second interview. For several years he has been considered one of the top young executives in the game and a surefire candidate to run a club one day.
Baird's dismissal was expected since owner David Glass said on May 4 that he was disgusted with the team's performance and would soon make "significant changes."
Baird could not be reached for comment today.
For now, manager Buddy Bell appears safe - but he declined to comment on the move.
"Right now, I'm not going to talk about it," a subdued Bell said before Kansas City wrapped up a three-game series at Oakland. "I'm not supposed to."
The Royals entered today's game with a major league-worst 13-37 record despite having won three of their last five. Kansas City lost 106 games in 2005 and 104 the year before.
Overall, the team was 381-574 under Baird.
Glass, who has known almost nothing but frustration since buying the small-market Royals for $96 million in 2000, had targeted Moore for more than three weeks.
Moore will assume his new duties next week after the amateur draft June 6-7.
The timing of the draft posed a potential conflict of interest for both the Braves and Royals, with Moore having intimate knowledge of all the information his Atlanta staff has compiled. Moore will not take part in the draft for either club.
Muzzy Jackson, who was Baird's top assistant, will run the Royals until Moore takes over.
Baird might have been fired just as his program was on the threshold of bearing fruit. There are several promising prospects at Double-A Wichita this year, including infielder Alex Gordon, who was taken as the No. 2 pick in last year's draft.