The Royals have filled out their coaching staff, hiring Terry Bradshaw as hitting coach, Cal Eldred as pitching coach, and Vance Wilson as bullpen coach. Pedro Grifol has been re-assigned to fill the newly created “Quality Control” coach position. All are internal hires who had been working with the Royals, with experience working with Royals minor leaguers, a trait the club may be looking for as they transition to a new generation of players.
Bradshaw, no relation to the former Steelers quarterback, was the minor league hitting coordinator for the Royals last year. He has previous served as a hitting coach in their minor league system for several years, ever since joining the Royals organization in 2000. He served as hitting coach for the Northwest Arkansas Naturals last in 2012, where he spent four years, but has also made stops in Omaha, Wilmington, Burlington, and Charleston. Bradshaw had a brief Major League career with the Cardinals as an outfielder, appearing in 34 games between 1995 and 1996.
Cal Eldred will serve as the new pitching coach after spending last year as an Assistant to the General Manager-Player Development with the Royals. He previously spent time with the Cardinals as a “Life Skills Coach” assisting minor leaguers with the transition to professional baseball. Eldred, a native of Urban Center, Iowa and a Hawkeye grad, had a 14-year Major League career with the Brewers, White Sox, and Cardinals.
Vance Wilson has served as the manager of the AA Northwest Arkansas Naturals since 2013, and has managed in the Royals’ system since 2010. In 2016, he was given the Dick Howser Award for outstanding player development in the Royals’ organization. Wilson can have a fiery attitude at times, but has handled many of the top prospects that have come through the organization since he came on. He enjoyed an eight-year Major League career as a backup catcher for the Mets and Tigers.
The three new coaches will replace bench coach Don Wakamatsu, who left for the Rangers, pitching coach Dave Eiland, who joined the Mets, and bullpen coach Doug Henry. First base coach Rusty Kuntz was also re-assigned as roving coordinator with Mitch Maier taking over first base coach duties. Dale Sveum moves from hitting coach to bench coach.