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Hok Talk: The Royals need to clean house

If Dayton Moore wants to keep his job he needs to fire a bunch of other people.

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MLB: 2019 Spring Training Media Days
Dayton Moore talks to the media
Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

Rumors are swirling that Dayton Moore is not only going to keep his job for more than five minutes after John Sherman officially takes ownership of the team but that he may actually be in line for an extension. If you’ve spent any time reading in this space you know how I feel about that: not great. But if that’s what must be, then it’s what must be.

So, let’s assume for a moment that the reports are 100% accurate and Dayton Moore is here for the foreseeable future. Is there any way to mitigate the damage of such a future? Of course there is. Fire a whole bunch of other people.

Chino Cadahia

Mr. Cadahia has been the senior coordinator of player development since 2014. The Royals haven’t developed nearly enough talent since then. I rest my case. I’m sure he’s a great person but he’s got to go.

Larry Sutton

If you haven’t heard of Mr. Sutton before, he’s this year’s hitting coach in Wilmington. Also, he used to play for the Royals. He was not a good hitter. Remember last year that the Royals had a bunch of promising hitters in the lower minors and they all went to Wilmington and seem to have lost any skill or talent they used to have, even after you compensate for the fact that Wilmington is a hitter’s graveyard? Maybe he didn’t make them all worse but he’s not making them better, either. I’m sure he’s a great person but he’s got to go.

Lonnie Goldberg

You knew we were going to get here sooner or later. Yes, it’s absolutely time for Mr. Goldberg to go. Even if the 2018 draft ends up being the draft of the century he’s just missed the mark way too many times. Would you believe he got a promotion this year from Director of Scouting to Assistant GM/Amateur Scouting? Unreal. I’m sure he’s a great person but he’s got to go.

Cal Eldred

The pitchers who were here before Eldred all seem to be worse since his arrival. Yes, Brad Keller seems to have flourished under his tutelage and Ian Kennedy successfully converted to a bullpen role but that’s just not enough. And on top of all that some guy impersonating our own David Lesky wrote that Eldred hates analytics so much he mocks them. The Rays, Dodgers, and Astros are all known for their analytical approaches. They feature three of the top six pitching staffs in baseball this year.

Heck, look at Justin Verlander. When the Tigers traded him to the Astros he immediately started striking out two batters more per nine innings and walking two fewer. His ERAs with the Tigers hadn’t been under 3.00 since 2012. With the Astros at age 35 and up he’s had the second- and third-best ERAs of his career at around 2.50 each year. He went from “very good” to “Best Pitcher in the AL”. And he’s far from the only one to transform like that, Gerrit Cole did the same thing. His last year in Pittsburgh he had a 4.26 ERA and struck out 8.69 batters per 9 innings. For the last two years, he’s had 2.84 ERA with a 12.95 K/9.

Analytics work. That’s it. That’s the end of the sentence. The debate about whether analytics can help players is ended. Analytics won. The only questions left are which analytics to use who best to help teams/players apply them. Even Ned Yost will talk about analytics. If you are working for a major league baseball club in the year 2019 and you think analytics is a bunch of hogwash you are bad at your job. I’m sure he’s a great person but he’s got to go.

He shouldn’t fire everyone, though

Just like the Royals have a handful of players who are pretty good not all of their coaches are a complete disaster, either. Some of these guys should stick around.

Terry Bradshaw

No, not that that Terry Bradshaw. The one who is a hitting coach for the big league club. Under his tutelage, Jorge Soler, Hunter Dozier, and Adalberto Mondesi have experienced breakouts. Yes, the lineup still has way too many black holes. But the man is a hitting coach, not a miracle worker. Give him credit for the excellent work he’s done and try to get him some more talent to work with. It will be especially interesting if he can figure out how to get Ryans McBroom and O’Hearn to crush some baseballs in 2020.

Pedro Grifol

Pedro is one of those guys who has been popping up as a managerial candidate for years now. He’s also one of the most analytically savvy coaches the Royals currently employ. He’s the catching and quality control coach. I’m not sure what exactly he does as quality control coach but his work with the young catchers has been pretty impressive as Cam Gallagher, Meibrys Viloria, and Nick Dini are all rated very well behind the dish.

He also often serves as the translator for Spanish-speaking players which suggests he has both respect and trust within the clubhouse. A lot of signs are pointing to Ned Yost leaving after this year which would make it even more important to keep a guy like Grifol around. It’s hard to quantify the importance of team chemistry but when you’ve got a coach who is both well-liked and appears to be good at his job, you should keep him. That’s one of the reasons Rusty Kuntz is still in the organization and was asked to personally groom his replacement, after all.

The Royals are on pace for their second straight 100-loss season. They are not going to make any drastic changes with the roster. But when you’re losing that much you’ve got to do something different. If you can’t change the on-field talent then you need to address to the off-field talent. I don’t have any ill-wishes for any of these men. I’m sure they’re all wonderful, lovely human beings but at some point, you have to produce results at your job or move on to a role that better suits your talents.