Apr 16, 2014; Houston, TX, USA; Kansas City Royals third baseman Mike Moustakas (8) is congratulated by third base coach Dale Sveum (21) after hitting a home run during the eleventh inning against the Houston Astros at Minute Maid Park. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

The Royals are Just Rearranging the Deck Chairs


In the realm of the potential highly predictable moves that the Royals would make, relieving Pedro Grifol of his duties was so far atop the list that there really was not a second option. After all, with Grifol being the fifth hitting coach that the Royals have had since the start of 2012, and with the Royals offense being an offense in name alone, it was obviously his fault that the team could not hit.

So, in a move that really changes nothing, Ned Yost and the Royals shuffled their coaching staff. Just 364 days after George Brett was named the interim hitting coach, the Royals reassigned Grifol to be their catching instructor. Former third base coach Dale Sveum is now the new hitting coach, and Mike Jirschele becomes the Royals third base coach. To Yost, it was time to do something.

“It was just time to do something. We needed to do something. We couldn’t keep going the way we were going,” manager Ned Yost said.

The biggest argument for this move is that Sveum was Ned Yost’s hitting coach back in Milwaukee. There is, however, a dramatic difference in the players on that team. The Royals do not have a player that is close to the caliber of power hitters that Prince Fielder or Ryan Braun were at that time. Regardless of what players were expected to develop into, the fact of the matter is that they simply have not become those players.

Despite the Royals scoring more runs last night than they had during the entire previous series against the Houston Astros, this does not make Sveum a miracle worker. The Royals had moments when they looked competent on offense under Grifol as well. This move, which kept the coaching staff intact, is just a move being made that gives the impression that the Royals are changing things around. In reality, by keeping Grifol on the major league coaching staff, it shows a lack of accountability for poor results. All the Royals are doing is the baseball equivalent of shuffling the deck chairs aboard the Titanic.

Was Pedro Grifol the reason why the Royals could not hit this season? No. There are many more reasons why the offense has been anemic. But the Royals felt a move needed to be made, and Grifol was the fall guy.

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  • Tyler_KC_Fan

    I think it’s a good move. I’m like you, I’m not saying Sveum is a miracle worker after one game. If the team starts hitting doubles, HRs, scoring and getting on base more, then yeah this was the best move we could have made. But Grifol isn’t a quality hitting coach. He couldn’t hit the ball when he played and last year he had George Brett there to help him if he needed it. I don’t for one second believe that the greatest Royals hitter and player in franchise history needed Grifol. Grifol was a hero last year. But consistency keeps jobs. Grifol couldn’t keep the team consistent.

    I would love to see the Royals make the move of the year and fire Yost. Sveum take over as interim manager and then find someone during the offseason. Is that logical? No. Do I think it will happen? No. But I wish it would. Yes, the coaching doesn’t hit the ball, pitch the ball, or whatever. But the coach is there to help players. Help fix any struggles they may have. I know some players are stuck in their ways and won’t change, but saying that means we have 8 starters in our lineup that won’t change anything because 8 of our 9 starters are struggling to a historic level. The coaching had to take as much responsibility as the players. If the coach can’t control the team, why keep them? I’m a teacher. If I can’t control my class or help them grow as learners, I lose my job. Same thing. Can’t control the team, you get fired.

    • The Plaindealer

      Dale Sveum was an abject failure as manager in Chi- town. Can’t we aspire to more than that?

      • Ryan Caltrider

        I’m not sure Sveum would be the answer at manager either, but he couldn’t be worse than what we currently have. And, to be fair, Sveum had absolutely nothing to work with in Chicago. So I wouldn’t completely write him off as a manager based on that experience.

        • The Plaindealer

          You’re right, he didn’t have anything. But I recall reading reviews of his stint. He didn’t mesh well with the players. You know, he took over for Ned when Ned was fired in Milwaukee with a few handfuls of games to go, yet Melvin didn’t retain him. I know nothing could be worse than Ned, but Sveum could be just as bad.
          We deserve more than a repeat of what transpired in Milwaukee.

      • Tyler_KC_Fan

        Interim Manager…. not a long term manager. If you think Yost would be better I would love to hear why Yost is more qualitifed (having the 3rd worst all-time record while managing 1,500 games) then Sveum finishing out the season and finding someone new after the year is over.

        The team can aspire for more, but accepting Yost as the manager that can help turn this around or can make this year worth while is worse than having Sveum take the wheel.

        • The Plaindealer

          I know Ned is bad. He’s proven that. But must we do what Milwaukee did and bring Sveum in to replace Ned? Aren’t we more creative than that. I know you can’t get much worse than Ned, but perhaps Sveum is just as bad. I mean, the Brewers didn’t retain him the next year. That should tell you something.

          • Geogman

            I agree. Replacing Yost with Sveum doesn’t inspire me even if it is on an interim basis. We need someone like Leyland to shake up the lethargy and apathy that seems to permeate this clubhouse. Why not pay him a few million to come out of retirement for the rest of the year. Tell the players he is here to evaluate who stays and who goes after this year and see what happens. Moore doesn’t have another George Brett to pull out of his hat but Jimmy Leyland would be a pretty good trick.

          • Tyler_KC_Fan

            I’m sure the Royals weren’t thinking, “how can we make our year identical to Milwaukee’s year when they fired Yost. Let’s hire Sveum.” But who else are the Royals going to hire? And I hate to say it, but there isn’t going to be any quality managers for the Royals to hire.

          • The Plaindealer

            Wasn’t suggesting the Royals had in mind to mimic the Brewers. It’s just coincidental that we might follow the same path, don’t you think? And a path that led nowhere, at that. And, are you suggesting that in all of the world of Baseball there aren’t any – any? – quality managers left? That would be a pitiful circumstance, if true, Tyler.

          • Tyler_KC_Fan

            I’m more suggesting that we don’t have the funds to bring in any manager that will make a significant impact that we are all wanting. I’ve heard rumors of Ron Washington if Texas goes south might be getting caned but that’s about it. Tony LaRussa is gone and would be way to expensive. The fact of the matter is, we aren’t going to get a manager like Bochy from SF, or Fredi Gonalez from ATL, Buck Showalter from BAL…those type of managers aren’t coming to KC.

  • jimfetterolf

    Maybe it was just buying time for the players to regress to the mean, but I think the move was justified based on failures of preparation, approach, discipline, and in-game adjustments to the opposing pitching coach’s adjustments. Of course, I still think much of this is irrational hysteria over the rotation having three lousy starts in the last four outings. If the Royals finish with 78 wins, fine, blow up the team and start a new rebuilding campaign. The advantage of doing that in the off-season is there will be more managers and GMs available. Boston and Tampa’s managers may be looking for work, maybe Texas’.

    • DownUnderFan

      They already have the manager and he is now the 3rd base coach.
      As far as the failures in preparation that goes through the whole team and leads back to the leader, not the coaches. “It’s okay boys, do whatever you want, I will just sit back and enjoy how great you are.

    • The Plaindealer

      The rotation having 3 poor outings? Are you kidding? The Royals scored 5 runs in a 3 game series!! What kind of rotation do you think we have (or need) to support that kind of offensive juggernaut?

      • jimfetterolf

        Maybe you missed Ventura, Duffy, and Shields. Five runs in two games has been known to win the Royals a couple of them this season. Giving up five runs early tends to lose games early.

        • The Plaindealer

          What!?! Huh!?! Well, if 5 runs in a three game series (that’s 1.66 runs per game, Jr. GMDM) is good enough for you, then I guess you rest your case.

          • jimfetterolf

            The well pitched game by Guthrie was a shut out by McHugh. You apparently don’t even follow the game, much less understand it.

          • The Plaindealer

            Seriously, Jim. Don’t be insulting. You know I watch the games. And you know the topic was offense, i.e. scoring 5 runs in a three- game series. And you also know you blamed the series on poor pitching. And you also know that poor pitching aside, scoring 1.6 runs per game won’t cut it.
            Since you got personal, I’ll just make a rhetorical statement before ignoring your future comments: concession is the backbone of the best argument.
            Cheers!

          • jimfetterolf

            I’m tired of your ignorance, so this will be my last toward you. You can’t even understand and remember a post right in front of you.

          • Geogman

            Your problem as always is you immerse yourself in meaningless minutia and miss the larger picture which is the offense. Clearly, the pitching staff pitched poorly in the Houston series but the problem with this team isn’t three poorly pitched games. If this offense just performed at the mean this year the team would likely be in first place and you wouldn’t have spent the last few days making the your ridiculous argument.

          • The Plaindealer

            I should pay more attention? You ignore the fact that the Royals have a splendid record when scoring 4 or more runs, and an abysmal record when they don’t. If they would have scored 4 runs against McHugh they would have won. See? It’s simple. You can’t throw shutouts every time. You do need a tad bit more than 5 runs per three-game series. I’m really unclear as to what you’re digging your heels in about.

          • Ryan Caltrider

            Yes, we all know you are the only one that follows and understands the game of baseball. We should all bow down to your unending baseball knowledge.

          • jimfetterolf

            As far as I can tell, several of the posters just follow the herd, like in the current shrieking media frenzy over what is not an unusual week for a baseball team. Royals are close to .500, hitters are about due to start a positive regression to their means, and the biggest problem right now is Ventura’s arm and Duffy’s inconsistency. Without those two delivering at least 3 quality starts of every five the team is in trouble.

          • Ryan Caltrider

            The good news is that Dayton has stocked the system full of quality arms like Aaron Brooks who can be counted on to deliver the goods when needed for a spot start or two.

          • jimfetterolf

            That’s a valid gripe. I prefer Sugar Ray Marimon and he may yet appear if Duffy continues to tank, but for what the hope was a one off they probably didn’t want to make a 40-man roster move. Brooks was already there, so he got the start. Brooks was highly thought of before the season, Clint had him a sleeper prospect, just couldn’t throw strikes today.

          • Ryan Caltrider

            I preferred Marimon or even Tomko. I don’t think Tomko is particularly good but he wouldn’t have been overwhelmed by the moment as Brooks seemed to be. Although, none of it really mattered today as the offense could only muster 2 runs. But the larger point is that you can’t have your starting pitching this thin. Nobody is going to get through the season with 5 or even 6 starters. You need to be 7 or 8 arms deep and this system is not.

    • Geogman

      Wow! Is the hitting coach ultimately responsible for failures of preparation, approach, discipline, and in game adjustments by the players? The fact that in the last two years this organization has had to fire coaches in the middle of the season points to lack of leadership in the clubhouse and manager’s office and an failure by Moore to hold either accountable

      • jimfetterolf

        Yeah, because part of his job is exactly those things.

        • Geogman

          Well when you had six in 18 months you’ve got a bigger problem.

          • jimfetterolf

            True, so what is the problem and how do you address it?

          • Geogman

            The problem is the manager. I have been saying this since the day after the 2012 season. He fired a successful hitting coach who knew how to relate to young players and taught an approach to hitting very conducive to the dimensions of Kauffman. Since then he has been through a revolving door of hitting coaches and overseen an offense that gets progressively worse each year. That’s managerial malpractice. He still has his job because of DM’s pride and stubbornness. Moore knows that firing Yost makes him look bad. That will have been two bad managerial hires as a GM and generally a GM doesn’t get a chance to hire a third. Does firing the manager fix everything, of course not. But if Moore truly believes in this team’s capabilities (and believe it or not I still do)he would make a change at manager.

          • jimfetterolf

            You might look up the Royals’ hitting for 2012. Everybody was real disappointed in how the team’s offense tanked after the nice ’11 season. Billy had a nice ’12 but Gordon and Frenchy fell way off. The team won 72 games.

            The bigger problem in my view is that the Royals have hurried prospects and that the stadiums in Springdale and Omaha are poor preparation for the major leagues. There also seems something lacking in the low minors’ coaching. Calixte and Dozier are the only bats I’m real hopeful of down there.

          • Geogman

            Go back and listen to Seitzer’s interview on Pine Tar Press in February 2013 for an insight into what went wrong with the offense in the 2nd half of 2012. If you believe what Seitzer said is true and there is no reason not to (he basically predicted what would happen) you’ll see why I have been calling for Yost’s head since then.

          • jimfetterolf

            The offense had already fallen off in the first half of ’12. Royals had injuries, had lost Melky, Frenchy and Alex were regressing, Hosmer and Moose were disasters. Seitzer was too big on staying back and chopping down for backspin, he had Gordon ignoring the inner third and only hitting middle-out. That works for Esky and Getz but not for power hitters, as Billy shows us every game. Alex has gone back to using the inner third and getting in front, what his last three homers were.

            Seitz was a good enough coach but hardly a savior. He taught the same stuff that his successors did. He was quite a bit better on the prep work and adjustments. And he seems to have made adjustments in Toronto, you don’t see Encarnacion sitting middle-out. Maybe being unemployed for a year made him get a little more flexible in what he teaches?

          • Geogman

            Gordon hit fewer home runs in 2012 but still batted .294 hit over 50 doubles and had an OPS of .822. Butler had his best season ever, 29 home runs and an OPS of .882. Escobar hit .293 and Perez in half a season managed a .300 BA. The problems were Frenchy who had reverted back to trying to pull everything and Hosmer and Moustakas. Yost wanted those guys hitting home runs and they struggled. Yost figured Seitzer was the problem not the young players. The Royals don’t have power hitters per se and do not play in a power hitter’s ball park. That’s why fly ball pitchers like Guthrie and Santana have done well here. Even the great Royals teams of the 70′s didn’t hit a lot of home runs. Mayberry hit 34 one year and George may have hit 30 on one or two occasions. The fact that 36 remains the club record ought to tell you something about Kauffman. Staying back and hitting down on the ball is hardly hitting heresy and seems to be a pretty good approach when your power alleys are the biggest in baseball, I think there was even one Royal who made the Hall of Fame hitting that way. Back to our original argument, firing Seitzer did not solve the power problems of the Royals and created something far worse, five different hitting coaches since then and one of the worst offenses in baseball. Shouldn’t the one responsible for presiding over this mess be held accountable?

          • The Plaindealer

            George. You’re making excellent points. The only problem is you’re debating someone who 1) Can’t stay on point, 2) Is conceited, 3) Never, ever says you make a good point, 4) Obviously has a secret wire in the clubhouse because he knows more than everyone.
            You will never make headway with that one.

          • Geogman

            I know but you still have to call him out.

  • DownUnderFan

    While the band plays merrily along and the Titanic sinks.

  • DownUnderFan

    OK had to get that one out first.
    But isn’t Dale Sveum great. One afternoon as hitting coach and he already has the Royals scoring 8 runs a game.
    What a genius Dayton and Ned are.

  • DownUnderFan

    My would compare this move to shuffling cards in your poker hand thinking that will give you a better hand.