Today, the stunning but not-so-surprising news struck the Kansas City area today. Trey Hillman is out as manager of the Kansas City Royals and consultant Ned Yost is in.
The news here isn't the firing itself, but rather the undertones displayed during the press conference.
This wasn't Dayton Moore's decision- Showcased by his emotion, it's obvious that Dayton Moore didn't want this to happen. I feel for the guy, but it is unacceptable to cry in professional settings, especially when your professional setting is a major league baseball stadium. He broke rule numero uno of all business: never hire your friends, especially in a position that has an incredibly high failure rate. It was known from the start that Hillman and Moore were close. It raised a few eyebrows but many people around baseball (including Peter Gammons) thought that Trey was an outstanding hire. Eventually, Hillman didn't seem to be working out and many feared that Dayton Moore wouldn't be able to pull the trigger when it came to Hillman's job security. Some of those fears were realized after the disastrous 2009 campaign and Moore continued to back Hillman. Just a month and a half into the 2010 season and David Glass was rumored to be in town for the current homestand. I guess all it took was three games of this garbage for him to decide what needed to be done that Dayton Moore couldn't do himself.
Dayton Moore is the next to go- It's never a good thing when the owner steps in and fires the manager. Look, I'm not saying that this is the exact thing that happened, but there's a high probability that it did. Believe it or not, David Glass has been a good owner the last 4 years. He signed the biggest General Manager prospect at the time, signed a new lease with the city for 25 years, got renovations for a stadium that this city is absolutely in love with, stepped away from personnel decisions and has signed the checks. Now, he's holding people accountable. Something that this organization hasn't done in 20 years. Everyone should be looking over their shoulders now that David Glass has ensured that no one's job is safe.
Dave "The Windmill" Owen is gone- Trey's boy and third base coach will likely exit stage left with Trey after today. Obviously, he's not the biggest problem in the organization, but he was a problem and another sign of incompetence that the Royals blogosphere loved to scapegoat.
This starts the search for a new manager- Who will it be? Ned Yost is not a long term solution. It was blatant that he was brought in as a safety valve if this situation happened. Most Royals fans will be clamoring for Frank White and Hal McRae. Frank White has made it obvious that he doesn't want the position anymore and it would put the Royals in a very sticky situation if a situation arose where White would be under scrutiny. I doubt McRae would want to come back after the way he was ushered out by Herk Robinson in the 1990s. I see the Royals going outside of the organization and we may see names like Terry Pendleton, Bobby Valentine, Willie Randolph or as Greg Schaum suggests Torey Luvollo, current manager of the AAA Pawtucket Red Sox. My vote is for Freddie Gonzalez who has worked miracles for the Florida Marlins in South Florida. Gonzalez doesn't get along with Marlins' owner Jeffrey Loria and has experience with young ballplayers and is considered a big managing prospect. But this is a thought process for a later time.
So where does this leave the Royals? Well, Ned Yost's reputation isn't the greatest. Some are saying this is a lateral move. Obviously, the track record for replacing managers midseason isn't the best, but the Rockies circled the wagons and rattled off an incredible second half to qualify for the playoffs after firing Clint Hurdle and replacing him with Jim Tracy. That likely won't happen with the Royals, but maybe Yost has a plan for this team. Hopefully, Yost sees some potential with the pieces that this team has. Maybe we see more playing time for Kila Ka'aihue, Brayan Pena and Chris Getz. Maybe Yost has a plan for Alex Gordon. We may see a shakeup in the Royals lineup tomorrow, we may not. I hope that Yost plans to inject the lineup and roster with more youth and return to a true rebuilding process. Yost oversaw the Brewers' overhaul that included the insurgence of Prince Fielder, Ryan Braun, J.J. Hardy and Rickie Weeks.
I'm not saying that the season is saved, but there is certainly some reason to hope that our owner has decided that enough is enough. Everyone is on watch now. From the players to the front office, it's good to see that the Glass family will not tolerate failure.
There isn't much reason to hope, but this is a good sign moving forward.