The Royals need to make changes…now

Credit: Jamie Squire/Getty Images

Here we are, almost halfway through June and the Kansas City Royals are once again one of the worst teams in baseball. They are 20-39 as of June 12, last in the American League Central and tied with the Oakland A’s for the worst winning percentage in the American League. So what has the Kansas City front office done?

Nothing.

Sure, they fired hitting coach Terry Bradshaw back on May 16 and since then the offense has shown improvement. The Royals needed to make a change and it was obvious after 4+ years that Bradshaw wasn’t the solution. But if you have followed the Royals in any manner then you know that the pitching is a major concern and an area where a lot of young arms need the proper guidance to develop into not only major league starters but consistent major league arms. In fact the numbers tell a very sobering story about Kansas City’s pitching:

This is just a taste. Royals starters have 1.1 fWAR this season, which is last in the American League and next to last to the Washington Nationals in baseball. Kansas City relievers have 0.1 fWAR, good enough to place them next to last in the league. And there is more:

All this and the Royals refuse to fire their pitching coach, Cal Eldred. The Cal Eldred that was hired to be Kansas City’s pitching coach before the 2018 season and the team’s pitching has never gotten better. The Cal Eldred that was never a pitching coach in any manner before the Royals hired him. The Cal Eldred that us Royals fans have been crying for to be fired now for almost a year:

Want more proof? Here is a GREAT ARTICLE from Max Rieper over at Royals Review that sums up why Cal should have been fired long ago. I could keep going with more and more proof but at this point you get it. In fact, the Royals think nothing is wrong. Dayton Moore even took a lot of the blame for Eldred’s ineptitude:

This would be a good time to point out that since Moore said this, Daniel Lynch has struggled as well and has been wildly inconsistent. The Royals stockpiled all these young arms (especially from the 2018 draft) and they aren’t growing because the front office believes that THEIR way is the right way, the best way.

They all need to go.

Credit: Jamie Squire/Getty Images

A storm is brewing in Kansas City and Royals fans are mad. Any patience that has been built up over the years has faded and is left with a front office and coaching staff that has shown the inability to elevate this team to the next level. I mentioned the bumbling of the pitching, but there is also the fact that the Royals had one of the worst offenses in baseball last year and did nothing in the offseason to improve on it. It was like they expected rookies like Bobby Witt, Jr. and over 30 vets who struggled last year (like Carlos Santana) to improve and/or help the team score more runs.

Santana has been one of the worst offense players in baseball so far this year and rather than Kansas City address this issue, they have doubled down. Vinnie Pasquantino is a first base prospect down in AAA Omaha & has been tearing it up over the last month or so. It would make sense to call him up and help the struggling offense, right? Nope.

“Vinnie, I was looking at this the other day, he just hit the 150 at-bat mark in Triple-A. He had 200 at-bats in Double-A.

So when you look at upper level at-bats, he’s had 350 upper level at-bats. That’s not even a season’s worth, over two levels. You’d like to get, really, a full season at the highest level. That’s not set in stone, but generally you’d like to see 500, 550 plate appearances at the highest level.”

That would be fine, but it’s not what the Royals have done in the past. Both Eric Hosmer and Salvador Perez were recalled before that 500 plate appearance limit plus Dayton Moore has talked about in the past that they would recall players “when they are ready”. Considering how Pasquantino has hit, I don’t see how he is “not ready”.

There is also this quote from GM JJ Picollo:

“We just have to keep in mind, we’ve done this for a long time, young players can come up and certainly help an offense,” he said. “But it’s really hard to expect a young player to come up and carry an offense. We don’t want them to feel like they have to carry an offense.”

This would be easier to believe if the Royals weren’t already regularly batting rookies Witt, Jr. and MJ Melendez between the 3rd and 5th spots in the order. These are the type of fairly regular comments we get from both Picollo and Moore that make me question the front office because you wonder whether they actually believe these false quotes or are knowingly feeding us a line of bull.

Between the evaluation of the coaching staff, the offense and then their reluctance to recall Pasquantinto it probably has most fans questioning the validity of both Moore and Picollo. Moore was hired in June 2006 and has now been in the organization for 16 years. In that span of time, the Royals have only had three winning seasons. Let me repeat that: out of 16 seasons, Kansas City has had only 3 seasons with a record over .500.

Pardon my french here, but only THREE FUCKING SEASONS!

It has been seven seasons since the Royals won the World Series and this is season five of the “rebuild” (yes, I know Moore won’t admit it is a rebuild but a large core of the World Series team left after the 2017 season. It’s a rebuild.) and not once have we seen a winning season from Kansas City. Moore’s first “rebuild” took seven seasons before we saw a winning season followed by back to back appearances in the World Series.

Like many fans, after the championship win, I gave Dayton and company a pass. While I didn’t agree with many of his practices, it was hard to argue with the end results. But we are on season seven with no winning seasons and another not even looming on the horizon. If we are being honest here, it doesn’t take seven years for a rebuild, any rebuild.

The front office needs to go.

Recently it has felt like Dayton and company felt like the World Series appearances proved that their way was a winning formula and that we should trust their process (yes, I went there). But all it feels like is a bunch of guys grasping at straws and not getting any results from their way of running a baseball team.

We as fans have been very patient with both Dayton & JJ but at this point our patience has run out and it doesn’t appear as if the guys running this team have any answers. Matthew LaMar has been killing it lately at Royals Review, with this piece on why the team needs new leadership and this one on how management appears okay with them being losers. These are all thoughts I have had for almost two months now and when these articles started popping up I felt better about my assessment of this organization.

Credit: Kevin Sousa-USA TODAY Sports

What about manager Mike Matheny? To be honest, I’ve never liked the hiring. It felt too soon after his firing from St. Louis (15 months), I had concerns about many of the issues he had while managing there and honestly, I felt like Royals current bench coach Pedro Grifol was the better choice. But while researching for this piece, I ran across this that I wrote about Moore’s reasoning for hiring Matheny, which I believe to be based on Matheny’s faith:

Moore has made his decision and I will call it now: this move will be the beginning of the end for Dayton. Over the last couple years, he has made some questionable moves and we’ve seen his decision making become more and more questionable. It used to just be free agent signings or trades but now it has started to seep over into whether his personal belief system is on a higher plain than winning. Need more proof? Look no more than his defending of Luke Heimlich. Moore’s want to give people a second chance almost gave the organization a giant stain that would have been hard to recover from. It is obvious what his mission is at this point and on a daily basis I question more and more whether or not that goal is winning. The hiring of Matheny could very well be his eventual downfall, especially with new ownership getting ready to move in.

While Matheny has been a little bit better than expected, it still doesn’t feel like he is the right guy for the job and more and more I just don’t feel like he is a good manager. He makes questionable strategic moves with the bullpen, still appears to show favoritism for veterans when it comes to his lineup and his intense attitude has rubbed some of the veterans the wrong way, as David Lesky talked about last week.

There were even moments in the last week that appeared to many as Matheny losing his team, as players appeared despondent and almost just giving up. While the Royals have posted some victories since then, this doesn’t feel like a manager who can turn around this ship. Not only is he not been given the pieces to turn things around, he also doesn’t appear to have any answers. This is a former player who was handed a playoff team in St. Louis and when that team started to dismantle he had no big changes in his playbook to turn around the losing.

Matheny needs to go.

Credit: AP Photo/Reed Hoffmann

It might seem extreme to some, but this organization needs a house cleaning. They’ve been given more than enough time to get the Royals back to a winning record and they aren’t even close. I think they have done a good job with the development programs going on in the minor leagues for both the hitting and pitching, but none of that matters if changes aren’t made on the coaching staff. Throw in a front office who still thinks it’s 2006 and you have a recipe for players to never reach their full potential in Kansas City.

To really give you an idea of how bad this is, I have been a die-hard Royals fan since 1984 and have watched this team win or lose for years. But I can’t stomach this. It’s very apparent changes need to be made and management is doing nothing while ownership apparently is either okay with this or doesn’t know any better. I haven’t watched a game in three weeks and have zero desire to watch a game. I hate what they are doing to this team and in no way will support what is going on.

I am a baseball fan so there is no “wait for the Chiefs season” or “there are other sports to watch”. I breath and eat baseball all year, so this has been awful for me. I’ve gone to one game this year but I’m not really for sure I’ll go to another. We should be able to get the Bally app soon but as of right now I have no reason to spend money on it. If this organization can’t see there is a problem with this, then they are blind.

What they are telling you, the fan, is “hey, we don’t care whether you pay attention to our team or spend money with us. We believe our way is the only way and dammit we aren’t going to change for anyone”. that is a frightening message to send when you have had only three winning seasons over 16 years.

Ownership has talked a lot recently about building a new stadium in downtown Kansas City and some are wanting it and others (like myself) want nothing to do with it. There is a belief that if they move downtown, one of the factors will be more people coming to games because of accessibility. The problem they aren’t seeing is that if your baseball team continues to lose, fans aren’t going to come to the games. It’s not an issue of having an old stadium or being downtown; the issue is that the Royals are a bad baseball team and fans are tired of losing. 2014 and 2015 proved that the cure-all for filling the stadium is winning baseball games. Simple as that.

The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again while expecting different results. The Royals are testing that theory while running fans off in the process. I hope John Sherman is listening. You want a full stadium and possible October baseball? Clean house. If not, don’t expect any changes in the near future.

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