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Pedro Grifol, Vance Wilson to be candidates for managerial job, but Royals will cast “wide net”

General Manager J.J. Picollo addressed the media Thursday

Kansas City Royals v Los Angeles Angels Photo by Katelyn Mulcahy/Getty Images

The Royals will consider bench coach Pedro Grifol and third base coach Vance Wilson as internal candidates to fill the vacant managerial position, according to General Manager J.J. Picollo in comments to the media on Thursday. But he also stressed there is no main target and the team plans to “cast a wide net” and take their time to make the right hire.

Alec Zumwalt, Keoni DeRenne and Mike Tosar will all stay on as hitting coaches and Damon Hollins will stay on as first base coach, but Picollo was less committal on coach John Mabry and bullpen coach Larry Carter, saying those decisions will be “made down the road.” Picollo also indicated that the new manager would have a say in the next pitching coach, but that Paul Gibson would continue to oversee the minor league pitching development.

Grifol has been with the Royals for ten years, working as hitting coach, catching coach, and bench coach. He interviewed for managerial openings in Detroit and San Francisco and is rumored to be a potential candidate for the opening in Miami. The bilingual Grifol already knows the players and is said to have a good relationship with many of them, and has also been a conduit between the analytics department and on-field staff.

Vance Wilson served as a minor league manager for the Royals from 2010 to 2017, before joining the big league squad as bullpen coach in 2018. In 2020 he was named third base coach. Wilson has been praised as a rising star within the organization, but he has also been criticized for being overly aggressive with his sends as a third base coach. The Royals had the third most outs at home in baseball in 2022.

Picollo praised Matheny and pitching coach Cal Eldred but said it was the right time for a change. Morale was low with the team, according to Picollo, who called the clubhouse tense at times under Matheny, but not problematic.

Picollo also seemed to downplay the possibility of spending on free agents this winter to improve the team, citing high-spending teams that missed the post-season, and concluding that “making good decisions is just as important as spending money.” He stressed it would be a long process, but that having a team of young players would be attractive for a new manager.

“Flipping from where we are to 90 wins is difficult. It’s possible, but it’s difficult.”


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