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Hok Talk: Be prepared for a slow off-season

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I’m sure that isn’t what you want to hear, but...

St Louis Cardinals v Chicago White Sox
The Royals just hired Mike Matheny to do...something.
Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

The Royals aren’t going to do much this off-season. That’s just the way it is. They’re especially not going to do anything early. Even Dayton “We’re not rebuilding any” Moore admitted earlier this off-season that chances were likely they’d be holding out for bullpen and other low-impact moves until late in the off-season to see what deals are out there.

In fact, last week’s signing of Mike Matheny might be the biggest move the Royals make for the rest of the year. Maybe for the entire off-season. But we’ll get to that more in a minute.

It’s smart for the Royals to do very little this off-season. Barring the signing of Clayton Kershaw, Bryce Haper, and Manny Machado the Royals aren’t going to improve enough through free agency to compete next year. So there’s no reason to spend a lot of money on free agents early and every reason to pick up some bargains that could be flipped at the trade deadline, late. We criticize GMDM a lot around here but it’s important to acknowledge when he’s doing things that appear smart, too. This is one of those times.

Unfortunately, that means there is going to be precious little to write about, this off-season. Last week’s Hok Talk was a silly bit about comparing Royals players to a Thanksgiving dinner. You’re probably going to see more stuff written like that this off-season as we strive to continue to provide you with the high-quality #content you’ve all come to expect from this website. If you’re the kind of person who doesn’t enjoy silliness or non-baseball-topics this is going to be a terrible off-season for you. I hope you’ll make it through so we can spend all of next year wondering if the Royals can manage to lose 100 games in back-to-back seasons.

Concerning Mike Matheny...

Last week the Royals brought in Mike Matheny as a special advisor for player development. What exactly does a special advisor do? As best I can tell they collect a paycheck for the front office after they played for a team or they collect a paycheck until the team frees up the role they actually intend them for. Ned Yost was a special advisor until he became manager and he’s not the only coach on the roster to have gone through that process. It’s not out of line at all to wonder if the Royals intend for Mike Matheny to take over in 2020 once Ned Yost likely retires at the end of next season.

Not unlikely. But foolhardy? Probably. Whatever we all think of Ned Yost’s tactical abilities I think we can all agree he’s an above average personnel manager. Even in a 100-loss season, last year, the team seemed relatively upbeat. The Cardinals were 47-46 last year when Matheny was kicked out the door. The front office and/or ownership had so little faith in his ability to motivate his players that they fired him in the middle of the year. The Cardinals also immediately improved with his firing. They went 13 games over .500 the rest of the way. Is it a coincidence? Maybe. But it’s certainly not a good look.

That’s a snippet from a story in the Athletic about the environment in the Cardinals’ clubhouse while Matheny was still managing there. You should absolutely read the whole thing but can you imagine reading a story like that coming out of the Royals clubhouse? Me neither. And I’d prefer to keep it that way, honestly. Hopefully, the Royals have some other role in mind for Mike. Or I guess we’ll have to hope he learned from his mistakes.