KC Royals: One thing is clear about manager search

(Mandatory Credit: Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports)
(Mandatory Credit: Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports) /

Reports that the KC Royals have interviewed Clayton McCullough tend to confirm the financial parameters of their search for Mike Matheny’s replacement.

The Royals, long known for an almost unwavering reluctance to avoid spending lavishly on free agent players, appear to be taking the same approach to finding Matheny’s successor.

News of McCullough’s interview, reported by MLB Network’s Jon Morosi (Twitter link) and MLB.com KC beat writer Anne Rogers, among others, suggests KC won’t splurge. Adding Dodgers coach McCullough to the list of candidates widely reported to have interviewed, including KC coaches Pedro Grifol and Vance Wilson, Phillies coach Dusty Wathan, Tampa Bay coach Matt Quatraro, and Omaha skipper Scott Thorman, is consistent with the notion that it won’t take big money to replace Matheny.

Why the new manager won’t require the KC Royals to break their bank.

No one knows yet who Kansas City will hire. But who isn’t on the roster of known possibilities says much about where, from a financial perspective, the process is headed.

As of this writing, no unemployed managers with successful major league resumés, such as Joe Maddon and Joe Girardi, seem to be in the running. And there was no indication that the Royals pursued three-time World Series champion skipper Bruce Bochy before the Rangers hired him last week.

It’s possible, of course, but unlikely, that Kansas City General Manager J.J. Picollo reached out to Maddon and/or Girardi—both can command high salaries the Royals probably aren’t willing to pay. And it had to take a lot of pretty pennies for Texas GM, and former Royals pitcher Chris Young, to land Bochy.

But not throwing huge money at a new manager is OK … and probably prudent. Piles of cash won’t guarantee what this franchise needs—a skipper who can energize and lead a struggling team whose roster bulges with promising young players like potential American League Rookie of the Year candidate Bobby Witt Jr., Vinnie Pasquantino, MJ Melendez, Michael Massey, Nate Eaton, and Brady Singer (yes, at 26, Singer is still young).

Matheny’s successor must also be committed to, or prepared to embrace, analytics, and have experience developing inexperienced players.

Internal candidates Grifol, Wilson and Thorman, and external possibilities Wathan and Quatraro, and now McCullough, appear, at least “on paper,” to fit Kansas City’s bill. And because they all share a conspicuous hole in their resumés—none have ever held a big league manager’s job—they won’t command big paychecks, at least not the kind that could give the Royals pause.

Who Picollo hires, and when he does so, remain to be seen. But one thing is clear about his quest—he’s not going to break the bank.

dark. Next. Should KC interview Carlos Beltran?

Kansas City’s search for a new manager continues.