The KC Royals should also consider calling two successful former managers.
Candidates with close ties to Kansas City aren’t the only baseball folks the Royals might want to think about if they mull firing Mike Matheny. A pair of high-achieving big league skippers are unemployed; if they’re looking for work, the Royals should at least reach out.
The Phillies hired former Yankee skipper Joe Girardi to help change their fortunes beginning with the 2020 season. The choice made sense at the time—Girardi, who’d managed the Marlins for a season in 2006, took New York to the World Series once, won three division titles, and went 910-710 in 10 Yankee seasons.
But he never enjoyed that kind of success with Philadelphia. The Phillies finished third in the NL East in 2020, second last season, and little was going well for them when they let Girardi go last month.
Subpar play also led to Maddon’s June departure from the Angels. Known as effectively popular with his players during successful stops with Tampa (one pennant) and the Chicago Cubs (one World Series championship), he seemed a good choice to lead Mike Trout, Shohei Ohtani and their teammates to the World Series.
It didn’t work out. Maddon’s Angels went 26-34 in 2020, 77-85 last season, and were 27-29 when the axe fell.
Despite their recent troubles, Girardi and Maddon are proven managers. Whether they’d listen to the Royals, however, is doubtful—neither is probably interested in Kansas City’s kind of rebuild. Clubs with more immediate chances to win are more likely destinations.
There you have them: six possibilities to succeed Mike Matheny. They aren’t the only potential KC skippers (watch this space for more as time passes), but they warrant some consideration from the Royals.