The Royals have fired manager Mike Matheny after three seasons with the Royals, according to MLB.com writer Anne Rogers. He had a winning percentage of .430 with 165 wins and 219 losses and never finished higher than fourth in the standings or with a winning record in Kansas City. The Royals also dismissed pitching coach Cal Eldred. General Manager J.J. Picollo will address the media tomorrow.
Matheny was hired after six and a half seasons in St. Louis where he had a .555 winning percentage, reaching the post-season four times, including winning the 2013 National League pennant. He did not have the same kind of talent in Kansas City, but the team took a major step backward in 2022, finishing with a record of 65-97, fifth-worst in baseball, after expectations of flirting with .500.
The Royals dropped 41 of their first 61 games this season, and Joel Sherman of the New York Post reported there was a “bad vibe” around the team. Matheny also faced criticism for his leadership when ten players were unable to make a road trip to Toronto in July for not being vaccinated. Last week, Jon Heyman reported that Royals players were “hoping for change” in the managerial position.
Perhaps most disappointing was the lack of progress among the pitching staff. Eldred drew a barrage of criticism for his handling of a staff that finished worst in the American League in strikeouts, walks, hits allowed, runs allowed, and ERA. Brady Singer did take a big step forward in becoming one of the best young pitchers in the league, but Daniel Lynch, Kris Bubic, and Carlos Hernandez all regressed and rookie Jonathan Heasley showed too much inconsistency. The disappointing season ultimately cost club president Dayton Moore his job a few weeks ago, making it all but certain that Matheny and Eldred would follow him out the door.
Last week, Ken Rosenthal of the Athletic reported that bench coach Pedro Grifol could be a candidate to replace Matheny if the Royals go in-house. Grifol has been considered for managerial jobs with Detroit and San Francisco and has been rumored to be a candidate for the Marlins job. At a press conference where he dismissed club president Dayton Moore, owner John Sherman talked about wanting to emulate small market clubs like the Tampa Bay Rays, Cleveland Guardians, Milwaukee Brewers, and Oakland Athletics, teams that have consistently developed good pitching. Rosenthal speculated that Rays bench coach Matt Quartraro could be a good fit for the Royals if they look to hire from one of those organizations.