Mike Matheny was fired after his third season as manager of the Royals. Bowling coach Cal Eldred was also released after his fifth season in the role.
Executive Vice President/General Manager JJ Piccolo is scheduled to meet with local media on Thursday from Kauffman Stadium.
In a team statement, Piccolo said, “We are grateful to Mike for leading us through some extraordinary times in the past three seasons. He has faced these challenges head-on and helped us move forward in a positive way. We thank him for his leadership and know his influence will have a positive impact going forward.” .
Members of the royal family have been going in this direction for the past two weeks after owner John Sherman Dayton Moore, chief of baseball operations, sacked, where he handed over baseball operations to Picollo and his assistant general managers. The past two weeks have been filled with front office meetings, including several between Piccolo and Matheny, about the future of the royal family and Piccolo’s vision of turning rebuilding into competing seasons within the next two years.
Wednesday was Piccolo’s first major move. The club is expected to make further changes to its coaching staff in the coming weeks, as well as other personnel changes across the organisation.
The Royals exercised an option over Matheny’s contract during spring training this year, extending it until the 2023 season. But Matheny was hired by Moore, and Sherman said when Moore was fired that the evaluation of Matheny and his future in Kansas City would be left to Piccolo.
Matheny was appointed after Ned Yost retired in 2019 after spending a year as a special advisor to Moore. This was Matheny’s second assignment as coach, after 6 and a half seasons in St. Louis from 12-18. He came to Kansas City determined to approach things differently with the media and analytics.
Matheny inherited a 103-loss team in 2019. In his first season, the Royals went 26-34 to play the 2020 short schedule for the pandemic.
The 52-year-old has embraced young club Royals, including managing 13 players during their debuts in the Major League. But his presence was intense, as several sources pointed out to MLB.com, and some players felt they couldn’t be around him.
The Royals were 165-219 under Matheny, including a record 65-97 in 2022 – the year they felt they could improve on last season.
Instead, they finished last in the MLS Central, capping a 9-2 loss on Wednesday to the Guardians at Progressive Field as the Royals allowed 15 hits for the class winners. Kansas City went for its worst 26-55 in MLB on the road this year.
“Running the royal family has been a true privilege,” Matheny said in a statement released by the club. “I am grateful to so many, especially Dayton Moore and the coaches and players I have worked with. I would like to thank Mr. John Sherman and the Royal Group for the opportunity to manage their team, and all those involved in this wonderful organization. I come to the Royal Family knowing they are an organization of excellence and caring, and have shown me this Sponsorship every day. Royal family fans must be excited about this group of players, and I look forward to watching them continue to grow.”
Eldred, 54, spent 14 seasons in the major leagues and was a teammate of Matheny’s with Milwaukee and St. Louis. Eldred took over as the Royals’ pitching coach in 2017 after serving as Assistant General Manager/Player Development the previous two seasons.
The Royals entrusted Eldred with a wave of young shooters, including several of the MLB 2018 draft, many of whom have made their debuts over the past few years. But it didn’t go as well as they had hoped. The Royals staff finished 2022 with 4.70 ERA, the fourth worst in the Majors. The Royal Family’s 9.5% walking rate has been better than the Reds’ 9.8% this season.
Kansas City also finished last in the AL in batting and allowed the most innings of any AL team.
Brady Singer has taken important steps forward in his third season – thanks in large part to Eldred’s help with Singer’s mechanics – but the Royals didn’t see enough improvement from other starters, including Daniel Lynch, Chris Bobick and Jonathan Hesley.
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