Thursday, May 13, 2010

Hillman's Firing Means Dayton Moore is Likely Next to Go

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.

Monday, May 10, 2010

TreyBall: It All Happens Here

Well, I had the fortune of being away from the Royals this weekend after spending a lovely weekend in Chicago.

I opened my computer on Sunday evening to expect the usual snark and tongue-in-cheek humor from my fellow Royals bloggers on Twitter and was amazed at the monsoon of outrage over the Texas series. After a quick scan of several trusty Royals websites, there I sat, 500 miles away, my mouth gaping wide open at the absolute catastrophe that was Treyball in Arlington.

Luckily, I wasn't able to see or hear the Yuni pop-up, the Maier at 1B inning, the Kila batting cleanup or now infamous phantom "tag-up and advance" play. I can only imagine the thoughts that would have gone through my head if I were to have watched these games live. Of course, I would have thought "these are my Royals..." But I had the blessing of distance and perspective. My thoughts were "Did. That. Really. Happen."

Oh yes it did. It happened. It's not just losing with the Royals. It's finding new ways to make yourself lose. This isn't young rookies making silly plays. This isn't players trying to play injured. It's Treyball. It's like MartyBall, except you never win. Kila Ka'aihue is Rich Gannon and Jose Guillen is Steve Bono. The Royals offense is Lin Elliot. Hey, did you hear the one about the Royals offense? They tried to hang themselves, but when they tried to drive the runner in from third the chair, they missed.

It's comical. The Royals have gotten worse over the past three seasons. 58-104 in their last 162 games.

Now people are calling for David Glass to take action. I'll admit, I posted a pretty big knee-jerk post a week or so back. But after gaining perspective, I thought to myself: none of this is David Glass' fault.

He gave the reins to Dayton and Co. He's taken a step back and invested money back into the franchise. It's easy to point the finger at the guy with the fat wallet. He's doing his part. I would like to see him at more games and interact more with the local media, but that isn't who he is. If the team started winning, I'm sure he would be at most games.

Dayton has given Trey another vote of confidence, saying that Trey has done a "terrific job". I'm sorry. He hasn't.

He's done an awful job. If I were to rank the previous five Royals managers, Trey would come in last. No wait, if I were to rank ALL Royals managers, he would come in last. He has lost the team once again. It is obvious that he plays favorites. Jason Kendall is the new Ross Gload having played in 31 of the 32 games so far at the catcher position. A ridiculous notion for a 35 year old catcher who had had lower body injuries throughout his career.

The fans are grumbling and word has it that David Glass is none to happy about the current situation at One Royal Way.

The season is lost already, but some are still pumping sunshine. The Royals seem set on losing with overpriced veteran talent rather than losing the "right way" with our cheaper in-house talent.

The longer this continues, the longer we have to suffer.