3 reasons why the KC Royals don’t cut Ryan O’Hearn

(Mandatory Credit: Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports)
(Mandatory Credit: Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports) /
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KC Royals, Mike Matheny
(Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images) /

Ryan O’Hearn apparently has KC Royals manager Mike Matheny’s strong support.

Chances are good that O’Hearn wouldn’t be on the club unless Matheny wanted him to be, and wouldn’t be his go-to pinch hitter without Matheny’s confidence.

Matheny’s support for O’Hearn is apparent. After all, he’s played in 45 of Kansas City’s 106 games, a high number for someone not on the manager’s good side. And Matheny hasn’t made any secret of his respect for O’Hearn; indeed, and as suggested then by now-retired mlb.com KC beat writer Jeffrey Flanagan, Matheny clearly backed O’Hearn from the moment he took over the club in the winter of 2019.

Today, nothing seems to have changed Matheny’s opinion. He relies on O’Hearn heavily, especially as a pinch hitter, and continues to find situations in which to use him.

We wrote here in May, when O’Hearn was hitting .105, that Matheny shouldn’t play him. O’Hearn is better now than he was then, but the club might still do well to test a minor leaguer in his role, or perhaps a big leaguer like Kyle Isbel, who may soon be pushed to the bench more often if Eaton gets hot or Drew Waters keeps hitting at Omaha.

In any event, and unless O’Hearn shows much more this month and next than he has since his rookie season, this ought to be O’Hearn’s last campaign with the Royals. A good pinch hitter is better suited and utilized by contenders, not teams fighting just to stay out of last place, and O’Hearn has a long way to go before he can accurately be called an excellent all-around reserve.

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Will Ryan O’Hearn be back next season? We shall see.

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