To say that the Royals have struggled to find a permanent solution at hitting coach would be an understatement. With the recent reassignment of Dale Sveum to hitting coach, the Royals have had six different people in the position since the start of the 2012 season. Yet, there could be a reason for that, aside from a total lack of production. It could be that the Dayton Moore and the Royals are just using anyone who is filling the role as a placeholder for George Brett.
Brett was the Royals interim batting coach for two months last season, taking on that responsibility while serving as the Royals Vice President of Baseball Operations. That does not mean that Moore does not want Brett to reprise his role as the Royals hitting coach on more than an interim basis. In fact, Moore hinted strongly to the Royals Hall of Famer that he wanted Brett to be the Royals hitting coach, an overture which Brett rebuffed.
It certainly makes sense that the Royals would want to make George Brett the permanent hitting coach. Teamed up with the now deposed Pedro Grifol, Brett helped get the Royals offense going last year. His impact was most noticeable when it came to Eric Hosmer‘s performance last season, as Hosmer put together the type of performance from June onward that the Royals envisioned he could produce all season.
Inserting Brett into the coaching staff on a full time basis could have other positives for the Royals. Brett seemingly commands respect amongst the players, not just from his playing career and lofty career, but by what he has meant to the franchise and the city of Kansas City. No one wants to be the player that lets George Brett down. With the positive, comforting atmosphere that Ned Yost and the Royals have in the clubhouse, having Brett as a sterner voice may help to get the younger players back on track.
Even though Sveum was recently named the hitting coach, if the past two and a half years have proven anything, his grasp on that position is tenuous at best. If Brett decided tomorrow that he wanted to be the hitting coach, he most likely would be. In the meantime, Sveum will remain as the hitting coach as long as the Royals offense looks moderately competent, all the while knowing that deep down, he is likely just a placeholder should Brett change his mind.
Perhaps at some point in the future, George Brett will once again pull on his old number 5 and become the Royals full time hitting coach, in addition to his other responsibilities. Until that time, Dayton Moore and the Royals are just going to have to wait on Brett to say yes.