The Kansas City Royals, soon to be under new ownership, are looking for for a new Manager since Ned Yost’s retirement. Fans have all been waiting and speculating. We’ve heard names like Mike Matheny, Pedro Grifol, Dale Sveum, John Farrell, Joe Maddon, or Joe Girardi. With no authority or even a leg to stand on here is a look at who could fill the Royals managerial vacancy.
Possible internal promotions for managerial vacancy
Of the above mentioned possible new managers only Matheny, Grifol, and Sveum are the top internal options. My favorite of the three is Pedro Grifol. He is actually being sought after by the team that brought the biggest heart break of my life in 2014, the San Franciso Giants. So why should the Royals try to keep him? As a former minor league catcher and catching coach he has an understanding of the game that does not come from other positions. He understands pitching workloads and when pitchers need to be pulled. Grifol has also held various coaching positions all over the minor and major league levels as well as scouting. He might bring a refreshing analytical approach. One that has seemed to propel a lot of other major league teams into the future.
Dale Sveum has also been reportedly considered to fill the managerial vacancy as well. The Royals current bench coach has not always left the best taste in fans mouths. However, he has experience playing on seven major league rosters, managing two teams, and coaching on three. He is a two time World Series Champion with the Boston Red Sox and more importantly the historic and beautiful 2015 Championship with the Royals. He knows what changes the league has been through lately and could use the opportunity to improve his 134-202 managerial record. Sveum served as the hitting coach with the Royals before moving to the bench. He could be a good transition from Ned Yost’s old school managerial style.
Just say no to Mike Matheny
Before we get to the numbers lets get to the personnel issue. Matheny, while having a winning record on the field, never really learned how to manage a clubhouse. The Royals have a notoriously friendly, helpful, and cohesive clubhouse. No sense bringing in someone who could mess that up. In a recent interview pitcher Danny Duffy cites the bullying that tends to happen between veteran players and rookies. Matheny actually condoned this behavior with Cardinals. According to multiple outlets such as The Atlantic or Bleacher Report he actually had respect for Bud Norris deciding to bring down Jordan Hicks in his rookie season. During Hicks’ slow or down pitching appearances Norris was known to even publicly shame him. Matheny did nothing to deter this behavior. The team does not need someone like that leading the Royals.
Now Matheny does have a winning managerial record at 591-474. He even played in the majors from 1994-2006 where he won 4 Gold Gloves. As a manager he lead the Cardinals to three consecutive National League Central titles but a Matheny lead St. Lousi Cardinals never got that elusive World Serie trophy. Fans could not care less if you can manage a team to 100 wins like he did in 2015 if you can’t bring the championship to the city. Just ask the Los Angeles Dodgers or Minnesota Twins. Matheny has a postseason record of 21-22. He could be great but it just doesn’t seem like a fit.
Filling Managerial Vacancy with External Options
Joe Maddon may be the biggest name that has been brought up in relation to filling the Royals’ managerial vacancy. However, Maddon is 65. That does not and should not solely disqualify him for the position but it should be considered. Is he in it for the long haul? Maddon has a managerial record of 1,225-1,045. He knows the game inside and out and knows what it takes to win. Joe Maddon can be credited with resurrecting the Chicago Cubs and saving them from an even longer World Series drought. He is a three time manager of the year and two time World Series Champion. He has what it takes to win, but can he anymore? After the Cubs disappointed the last few seasons it is hard to believe he has it in him anymore.
Joe Girardi, the former New York Yankee manager has also been talked about by pretty much just fans to come to Kansas City. Girardi, like many others, boasts a winning managerial record at 988-794. His Yankees teams won exactly one World Series title. He took the Yankees to the postseason a few times before New York ultimately moved on from him. He managed the Yankees through many seasons that were riddled with injuries. Girardi has been battle tested and came out fine. However, fans have not been very impressed. Girardi could hold the fort down but would not be a good long term option.
John Farrell maybe?
For some reason unbeknownst to me John Farrell rumors have also spread like crazy. Royals fans might remember John’s son Luke pitching for the team in 2017. John, however, managed the Boston Red Sox at the time. He has a 586-548 managerial record and two World Series Championships to his name. Farrell is currently an analyst on Baseball Tonight.
Not just anyone can fill the managerial vacancy
Royals fans have been pretty vocal about who they do or do not want. With Mike Matheny being the front runner, fans have been coming out in droves on social media against him. Myself included. A few names I have seen my Twitter followers throw out are Rual Ibanez or Carlos Beltran. Fans even want Alex Gordon if he decides to retire. The hope is he keeps playing and leading the young guys on the field. Just please for the love of all that is good in the world, do not let it be Mike Matheny. I might actually lose it.
Who do you think should be the next Royals manager? Let me know on Twitter @cap_jrm.
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Image Credit: Sara Murphy