Royals

Atlanta Braves hire John Hart to run baseball operations, ending Dayton Moore speculation

John Hart (right) sat next to Braves president John Schuerholz at a news conference announcing that Hart will be the team’s president of baseball operations.
John Hart (right) sat next to Braves president John Schuerholz at a news conference announcing that Hart will be the team’s president of baseball operations. The Associated Press

A cloud of uncertainty regarding the future of Royals general manager Dayton Moore lifted Thursday morning when the Atlanta Braves announced former Indians and Rangers general manager John Hart had accepted an offer to run their baseball operations department.

Moore maintained he was not distracted by the situation, which added an extra layer of intrigue to his team’s first playoff run since 1985.

“I’m very focused on what we’re doing here,” Moore said during a workout day at AT&T Park, which will play host to the third game of the World Series on Friday. “I understand why somebody would ask me that question, because of the close ties and the great relationships that I had there. They raised me in the game. But I’m focused here in Kansas City. That’s it.”

The announcement followed a month of speculation tying Moore to the opening in Atlanta, where he spent more than a decade before becoming the Royals’ general manager in 2006. When the Braves fired general manager Frank Wren on Sept. 22, Moore emerged as a potential candidate. Moore has a strong affinity for president John Schuerholz, the former Royals general manager Moore considers a mentor from their time together in Atlanta.

The rumors continued to swirl as Moore declined to publicly distance himself from the job. Royals owner David Glass told The Star he did not expect Moore to leave, but he was free to interview elsewhere if he felt compelled. Meanwhile, the Braves waited for Hart, the interim replacement for Wren, to reject or accept a full-time offer.

After Hart agreed to become the team’s newly created president of baseball operations, Schuerholz insisted to reporters Thursday in Atlanta he never would have contacted Moore, since Moore still holds a contract with the Royals that lasts through 2016. Schuerholz visited Kansas City this week to watch his former team play in the World Series.

Both Moore and manager Ned Yost could receive contract extensions after this offseason. Yost has one year remaining on an extension he struck after the 86-win campaign in 2013.

To reach Andy McCullough, call 816-234-4370 or send email to rmccullough@kcstar.com. Follow him on Twitter: @McCulloughStar.

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