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Royals manager Trey Hillman isn't long for the job

May 11, 2010, 2:45 PM EDT

Sam Mellinger of the Kansas City Star writes that Trey Hillman is basically a dead manager walking, with the only question being whether the Royals will fire him during the season or simply let his contract run out.
I’m of the opinion that general manager Dayton Moore deserves a bigger share of the blame than Hillman, because he’s actually responsible for building a roster full of veteran mediocrity. With that said, the list of Hillman’s flawed decisions is a mile long and seemingly growing with each game, and as Mellinger points out regardless of the quality of the roster he simply hasn’t done what he was brought in to do:

He’s in charge of a roster that fits his tendencies and style better than either of the previous two. He likes speed and athletic ability, and the Royals finally have some. Judging a manager’s worth is endlessly tricky. Most times, it’s probably overrated. But here, where has Hillman improved the Royals?

He arrived as a hope to improve fundamentals. Before he ever managed a game, he talked about playing good defense and finding ways to manufacture runs. People would mention that he puts a lot of focus on the little things, and he’d quickly correct them. There are no little things, he’d say.

Well, in his third season and managing his kind of roster, the Royals rank last in defense and base running. Their run production doesn’t match up to their level of hitting, let alone exceed it. These are the areas Hillman was supposed to help. At best, he’s been ineffective.

Ultimately firing Hillman isn’t going to fix the Royals, because Joe McCarthy, John McGraw, and Earl Weaver together couldn’t manage this collection of scrubs to 75 wins. However, there’s little to indicate Hillman is pushing them in the right direction and plenty of evidence that he’s hindering the already shaky rebuilding process. His overall record as manager is 151-205 (.424), including 58-107 since last year’s 18-11 start.
Plus, as always the first step to an organizational overhaul is for the general manager to fire the manager. Once the Royals push Hillman out the door, whether by firing him now or opting not to renew his contract, then the pressure will be placed solely on Moore’s shoulders and the franchise might be ready for a more meaningful change.

  1. YX - May 11, 2010 at 3:11 PM

    “I think we have to do decide: are we men of knowledge, or are we BSers? I think what you wind up with, when you rate managers, is BS. If that’s what you want to be known for, have at it.”
    — Bill James

  2. jwb - May 11, 2010 at 4:03 PM

    His mishandling of Gil Meche is reason enough.

  3. Curious George - May 11, 2010 at 4:13 PM

    In the photo, Hillman appears to be answering the question: In a typical inning, how many gaffes do you make?

  4. Mr. Furious - May 11, 2010 at 4:47 PM

    Any team owned by someone who made his money by running Wal-Mart is pretty much doomed to mediocrity, at best. Let’s see… Wal-Mart, crappy products, low prices – the Royals, crappy baseball, low payroll.

  5. kcmookie - May 11, 2010 at 5:39 PM

    Sigh. Every year I want to believe in my Royals, but this year even the local pundits seemed to be taking shots before the season even started. Sad really. This team has the potential nucleus of a young team, with Grienke and some of the pitchers we have in the minors. But everything eminating from Kauffman Stadium feels more like political positioning instead of good baseball sense. For godsakes let the young guys play and dump the heavy payroll veterans! It isn’t as if the pups can do any worse then the old dogs.

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