The 2023 season was never going to be a good one for the KC Royals
Kansas City didn't give Quatraro a team with which he could sustain success. Instead, the club dedicated itself to what Picollo often referred to as an "evaluation season", an honest but not-so-subtle signal that winning regularly wasn't in the cards.
The team's candid concession helps explain why Quatraro was never expected to win this season, and why he won't be punished for losing. By design, 2023 was a campaign for observing, studying, and scrutinizing players; determining who could, and couldn't, help the Royals build and galvanize what Picollo fondly refers to as a "core" was paramount.
As a consequence, Picollo didn't spend last winter loading the roster with expensive, uber-talented new players. Yes, he added a few new faces, sold Ryan O'Hearn's contract to Baltimore before the season started and let Hunter Dozier go after it did, but younger, less-established Royals with long-term potential were clearly a priority.
And Picollo ultimately enhanced the future by trading performing players primarily for prospects — gone by the time the trade deadline expired, for example, were Aroldis Chapman to Texas, Scott Barlow to San Diego, Nicky Lopez to the Braves, and Ryan Yarbrough to the Dodgers. Playing greener players more often became the norm.
So it was, then, that Quatraro's Royals weren't very good. They were never designed to be, and he won't be fired for not winning with such a club.