When it comes to the 2010 Royals, we know a number of things. Barring injury, Zack Greinke, Joakim Soria, Yuniesky Betancourt, Alex Gordon, and Billy Butler will be on the opening day roster. Thanks to the recent extension to 2014, we know that Dayton Moore will be the team’s GM. There was a lot of speculation that, despite the vote of confidence, Trey Hillman would be shown the door after the end of this season.
Thanks to Bob Dutton’s piece posted on Kansas City.com, we now know that 2010 will begin with Hillman as the manager.
“Yes, Trey will be back,” Moore told The Star in an extended interview. “I think Trey has done an exceptional job under the circumstances. I think it’s important that Trey gets the opportunity to see this thing through.
Trey Hillman has done a lot of things in his time as Royals manager, but exceptional cannot be logically attached to any of them.
“When you evaluate any coach or manager,” Moore said, “you have to put it in a perspective of where we are as an organization and who our players are. I just believe Trey is the right leader for our baseball team, and I’m not going to waver in that at all.”
See, now if he would have just said that, I could understand his point of view. I still wouldn’t agree with it, but I’d at least kind of understand. Loyalty is one of my big things. I’d like to think it is one of my defining characteristics, and I can get behind loyalty as a reason for Trey Hillman to keep his job to start the 2010 season. If it were me making the decision, Trey would have already been gone, but Trey’s not my guy. I didn’t hire him. I have nothing invested in him, aside from the games I’ve watched him “manage” and the time I have spent writing about him on this site.
So with the GM and manager set, what other pieces can be changed? While Dayton puts it all on the players in Dutton’s piece, he also admits that the team isn’t where it needs to be and that “we’re not good enough yet.” So he is delusional, but perhaps not completely detached from reality. In Dutton’s own words:
Moore acknowledges the likelihood of a roster shake-up after such a disappointing season … So change is coming; just not in the manager’s office.
I can think of one place where the Royals can make a quantum leap forward. Apologies to Bob McClure and Kevin Seitzer, but the Royals need to invest in the top available coaching talent, in addition to the top talent on the field. I don’t have a better available alternative off the top of my head for Seitzer, and he certainly deserves more than one season in his current role with the team. Bob McClure, from my perspective, has done a decent job as the pitching coach, but if Dave Duncan decides to leave the Cardinals he needs to be replaced. If he’s willing, McClure could be reassigned in the organization or let go to find another job. I’d leave it up to him because I think he has value, but Duncan is the best of the best. While Mets fans are hot on this trail, it wouldn’t be difficult for the Royals to outbid other teams in this area. Teams are inexplicably unwilling to spend big money on coaches who can provide gigantic returns for the teams that are smart enough to sign the best. If you’re not up on the reasons behind Duncan’s displeasure with St. Louis click here and here to get a taste. Kansas City could be an attractive destination for Duncan thanks in no small part to Greinke, Hochevar, Davies, Meche, Bannister, and the up-and-coming crop of prospects. The inconsistencies of guys like Luke, Kyle, and Brian are exactly the sort of things that Duncan seems to be very adept at fixing.
We’re apparently sticking with Trey and the 2010 payroll probably isn’t going to get a bump so any roster shake-up is likely not going to involve any high profile talent coming to Kansas City. No matter what Dayton, Trey, or anyone else in the organization may think about Bob McClure’s ability as a pitching coach, Dave Duncan is the best in the business at what he does and the Royals would be better off with him on board.