I think the key point in the deal was the fact that it was only for two years. I think this strikes a good balance between a couple of sets of problems. Before we can focus on these two items, I think we also need to admit to ourselves one thing: Dayton Moore was not getting fired after 86 wins.
I'm not going to open the can of worms that is the Myers-Shields debate and I'm not going to argue about the worth of an 86 win season. What is important is that for the front office this serves as a stepping stone. What is even more important is that for an organization that has been deprived of winning for two decades, 86 wins serves as a beacon of hope.
Once we accept that Dayton Moore wasn't going to be fired, an extension became obvious. When you extend your manager past the general manager there is a safe bet that an extension is on the way for the latter. The other concern would have been the incredible moral hazard that would have existed should Dayton Moore only been under contract for 2014. You think he acted in desperation to acquire James Shields? Imagine what might have happened if he entered 2014 knowing it was division title or unemployment line.
The last time Dayton Moore was extended it was for four seasons. This go around it will be for an additional two seasons. What this says to me is that David Glass expects another step forward in 2014. Glass has kept the pressure on Moore. At the same time, does a three year contract prevent Glass from parting ways in a year, if 2014 is a disaster? Absolutely not.
While I would love to see what an analytical, forward-thinking front office could do with the current roster, I think this extension treads a fine line for both parties. It eliminates the possibility of a moral hazard on Moore's part, but it also leaves Glass with the wriggle room to part ways as soon as the situation dictates it. Let's hope Moore can reward Glass for his faith.