Hillman Watch


Each Spring since 1969, I have high hopes for my Kansas City Royals. Ever the clear-eyed realist, I may have acknowledged on occasion that they might not win the World Series every year, but I am always convinced that this is the season they will at least be competitive again. And keep in mind this includes teams whose opening day roster has highlighted such baseball giants as Emil Brown, Doug Mientkiewicz, and Angel Berroa in starring roles. As Ricky Fitts said in American Beauty, “Never underestimate the power of denial.” Politicians and cheating spouses know that Ricky was right. And so do major league baseball executives.

Of course April of 2010 was no different than every other April. After the first couple of weeks, I was excited to see our much improved running game, hitting, and decent starting pitching, if not our win/loss record. Then reality reared its ugly, unwelcome head once again. Our defense is porous and sloppy. Our bullpen is shaky. And even when we get on base, we do a terrible job of situational hitting – a must for any small market team with hopes of winning. It’s obvious to me that this team has a better level of talent than is reflected in our record. Which leads me to conclude that we need a new manager.

I must admit that I’ve never been a big fan of Trey Hillman. He just rubs me the wrong way, I guess. My antenna always goes up whenever the subject of someone’s “faith” enters into the discourse about any public figure’s hiring or job performance, as Trey’s has on so many occasions. My first instinct is to wonder what they’re hiding from. But that says as much about me as it does about him. And to be fair, he may not have done anything over-the-top to precipitate those discussions. That’s probably just who he is.

The fact is, no manager needs to be likable in order to garner my respect. If Tammy Faye Baker (may she rest in peace) could have led the Royals to a pennant, I would have named my first child in her honor, even though that would have really ticked him off.

Managers do, however, need to instill confidence that eventually, they will get the job done. And I’ve never gotten that feeling from watching or listening to Trey Hillman. Or from his teams. He looks desperate to me. And that is the last thing we need right now.

I respect Dayton Moore’s stance that continuity and trust are vital for any sound organization. I believe that too. He has publicly stated his opinion that the coaching staff knows what they’re doing — something he has to say, as the guy who decided to hire them –  and he intends to give them the proper amount of time to turn things around. But how much time is enough? Why not give someone else a chance to audition now, in consideration for the job next season? I realize Joe Maddons and Ron Gardenhires don’t grow on trees. But I feel Trey has had a fair chance to give at least some ray of hope to a loyal but beleaguered fan base. And he has failed.

As the Rockies discovered last year, a change at the helm can sometimes help right the ship. And what’s the worst that could happen? Another last place finish?

Tags: Kansas City Royals Trey Hillman

  • Michael Engel

    To a point, I’ve been pretty laid back about Hillman but tonight put an end to that.
    Pitching Meche to start the 8th? Not a big problem with that, he was at 104 pitches and maybe he can get through a quick inning. Once that first batter walked, though, he’s done.
    Except Trey had nobody warming up. Had all of the top of the inning to get them ready…and didn’t even try. After the second walk, for sure he has to go. But no.

    I wonder if DeJesus could have caught the Kinsler RBI single? If Ka’aihue is so fragile that he can’t face a lefty, why not DH him knowing you’ll be in the situation of sacrificing defense for a hitter? I get how you don’t want to pinch hit Guillen then have to use another player (aka Bloomquist) to play first. But he put himself in that position to start with by DHing Butler.

    And Betancourt. Wow, a day after muffing a popup and stating that “action will be taken” he takes action by starting Betancourt again. Unbelievable. He’s a rally killer…I’ll have to look up how many he’s left on base. Also how many times he’s chopped out to shortstop. I’d hesitate to say he needs to go because there’s such a cavernous hole of SS depth in the system to replace him, but he can’t start more than twice a week from here on out. Or get rid of him and bring up Irving Falu to bounce around the infield and spell Getz/Aviles.

    Yeah, I have to agree. Hillman needs to go.

  • Jon Twibell

    Agreed Tom. I think Trey is in-over-his head (by a long shot) and is far too tentative when it comes to dealing with his players. Taking action with Betancourt? Please. Betancourt’s lazy ass should have been benched right after that half inning concluded.

    I just don’t see how this franchise is going to get better with Hillman (and Dayton Moore, for that matter) at the helm.

    I’m really starting to think this entire organization is delusional.

  • Big Lee

    Hilly doesn’t seem to have a feel for handling the bullpen. He resists using a LOOGY, and leaves lefties in to be punished by righties. He will pull a righty after two batters to replace him with another righty. There are times for these moves, but they never seem to work for Hilly. His man-love for Bloomy is well-known. I liked the way he started with the Royals, but when the vets complained about being “shown-up” in spring training, things have went downhill from there.

  • HAPPEE BUMPEE

    Long Time Royals fan living in San Diego…

    “Royals officials say it’s wrong to suggest they are looking to dump DeJesus, but they don’t deny a willingness to entertain offers.

    DeJesus, 31, is making $4.5 million this season with a club option next year for $6 million. That option includes a $500,000 buyout. He is batting .264 with four homers and 12 RBIs while playing in all 32 games.

    The Mariners, Braves, Red Sox and White Sox are all known to be actively searching for offensive help”.

    Trade DeJesus..,I love the guy and he us very much underrated. Send him to the team that will give you as many pitching prospects as you can get. Stay away from White Socks…we already got their best pitching prospects in the Peavy deal last year!

    As far as missing the runner that did not tag-up in the Sunday night game….WHERE THE HELL IS THE BENCH COACH? Did he have the day off because of flu like symptoms? Hillman making Butler his scapegoat and then telling the press about it is Bull Sheet!

    How can they let Hochevar pitch in that game? Buddy Black would have had a super sub(Tim Stauffer) get ready and ask the umps for a little extra time. For that matter Buddy would have already pulled him back due to being I’ll. I think it is a real advantage to having a former pitcher or even catcher as your skipper…pitching is a teams #1 priority!!!

    I hear Sandy Alderson is available…he is working in the Dominican Republic…he a former Marine and well respected baseball man. John Towers might be enticed to going to KC and gutting that front office…that is where the cancer is….don’t let it spread to the field…but it might be to late. For this team and city to experience another 100 loss season would be just too devistating. GET INTO ACTION…cut the cancer out!!!