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Royals interview Vance Wilson for managerial opening

The Royals need a manager, otherwise players won’t know when to bat!

MLB: Kansas City Royals-Media Day Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

The Royals have interviewed bullpen coach Vance Wilson for their managerial opening, according to reporter Joel Sherman of the New York Post. Wilson has been the bullpen coach for the Royals the last two seasons, and was a minor league manager in the organization for seven seasons prior to that. He was a catcher in the big leagues for eight seasons, including six with the New York Mets.

The 46-year old has been said to be well-respected around the game and a good communicator. Executives have called him a potential future manager, and his former manager Jim Leyland has praised Wilson as well.

Pitching coach Cal Eldred has praised Wilson for his work with players, saying he has the “perfect combination of knowledge of statistics and analytics paired with the personal relationship to help develop players.” Wilson had success as a minor league manager, working up the ranks and working with players like Hunter Dozier, Whit Merrifield, and Adalberto Mondesi. He led the Northwest Arkansas Naturals to back-to-back post-seasons and won the Dick Howser Award in 2016 for the top player development person in the organization.

There have been no reports of official interviews with other candidates yet, but the Royals are expected to talk with bench coach Dale Sveum, quality control coach Pedro Grifol, and special adviser Mike Matheny (Update: Jeffrey Flanagan reports the Royals have interviewed Grifol and Matheny and that Dale Sveum is not a candidate).

Grifol interviewed for the managerial opening in San Francisco last week. According to Sherman, Matheny turned down consideration with the Mets to concentrate on the Royals job.

Complicating matters is the ownership transition. New owner John Sherman is expected to have his purchase of the club approved at the owner’s meetings on November 19-21. However, Sherman is said to be in contact with General Manager Dayton Moore, although the managerial hiring process will be deliberate.