The KC Royals will start the 2023 campaign with a new dugout brain trust.
General Manager J.J. Picollo charged into the winter by making two immediate and necessary moves fans had long clamored for: before the final 24-hour period of his club's season was over, he fired manager Mike Matheny and pitching coach Cal Eldred. Less than a month later, he hired Tampa Bay bench coach Matt Quatraro as his new manager, and the pair set about the business of rebuilding Kansas City's coaching staff.
Theirs was an important and formidable task, especially considering the losses of highly-respected bench coach Pedro Grifol, who became manager of the White Sox, and hitting assistant Mike Tosar, who joined Grifol in Chicag.
But by Christmas, Quatraro and Picollo had their men:
Notably, and in addition to naming Paul Hoover, who worked with Quatraro at Tampa Bay, as bench coach, Alec Zumwalt returns as hitting coach and Keoni De Renne is back to assist him. Together with Tosar, they oversaw KC batters who began to show signs of needed improvement under their tutelage.
Perhaps the most critical coaching hires were new pitching coach Brian Sweeney and Zach Bove, who'll help Sweeney and also serve as Director of Major League Pitching Strategy. Sweeney checks boxes the club wanted in a new pitching coach and Bove could complement him well.
So it is that Quatraro will head up a staff composed of some competent holdovers (including in-game replay guru Bill Duplissea) and some promising new blood. That alone should give KC fans cause to be optimistic.
There are reasons to be optimistic about the 2023 Royals.