The KC Royals coaching staff: Who are these guys?

KC Royals (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
KC Royals (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images) /
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KC Royals, Pedro Grifol
(Photo by Matt Brown/Angels Baseball LP/Getty Images) /

Pedro Grifol coached for retired KC Royals manager Ned Yost. He’s now the bench coach for new manager Mike Matheny.

Many people probably didn’t know who Pedro Grifol was until May of 2013. Before then, he played for almost a decade in the minors without making it to the big leagues and worked several more years in various capacities for the Giants, Mariners and Royals. But May 2013 was when the Royals replaced hitting coaches Jack Maloof and Andre David with George Brett, who they introduced as interim hitting coach and Grifol, who they named special assignment coach. Brett and Grifol worked together; Grifol’s initial fame came from sharing the spotlight with Brett.

Grifol took over as hitting coach when Brett returned to his club vice presidency a couple of months later, then was reassigned to catching coach in May of 2014; quality control coach duties were later added to his Royal portfolio. New manager Mike Matheny promoted him to bench coach shortly after taking over for the retired Ned Yost.

That Grifol will help Matheny with in-game strategy and decision-making is no surprise–the former catcher who hit .226 in nine minor league seasons (he never made it to the majors) makes no secret of his long-held desire to manage and has been a candidate in recent years for a handful of big league managing jobs. When interviews this past offseason with the Royals and San Francisco didn’t bear fruit, he elected to remain in Kansas City.

Grifol will likely continue, at least to some extent, his work with All-Star catcher Salvador Perez, who he’s mentored as catching coach for five of Perez’s six Gold Glove-winning seasons.

Grifol managed twice in Seattle’s minor league system; now that he’s receiving overtures from other clubs, a big league managing job may not be far away. Until then, he should be a valuable dugout asset for Matheny.