For weeks, the baseball world has wondered who the Kansas City Royals would hire to replace Mike Matheny as the club’s manager. That question was answered late Sunday afternoon when it was announced that former Tampa Bay Rays bench coach Matt Quatraro would join the organization as the 18th manager in its history.
With the 2022-23 offseason in full swing, Kansas City has always set a very soft deadline to wrap up managerial talks and make a final decision by or just before the end of the World Series. Not only did John Sherman, JJ Picollo et al. they accomplished that goal, but also acquired perhaps the hottest name on the big league coaching market in the process. An all-time favorite, Quatraro ended up at a team that many speculated could make the final move for him.
What could the Royals get with Quatraro? Is a 48-year-old man the right choice for the job? Does this raise or lower expectations for the 2023 version of the club? The Inside the Royals the crew gathered to discuss all things related to recruiting Quatrara.
Shawn Bauman: The hiring of Matt Quatraro will be the first time the Royals have hired a captain without any big league managerial experience since Tony Pena. Pena won Manager of the Year in the 2003 Cinderella season. A lack of talent development and a savvy front office ensured that the remainder of Pena’s tenure was not so rosy. The connection, however, is that like Pena, Quatraro will have a group of young and hungry players who have as much to prove as he does.
The new manager will need some help with solid free agent picks, but all indications are that he will be a leader anyone can beat. It should come as no surprise that John Sherman went with someone he had a connection with during his time in Cleveland. Hopefully the winning vibe is contagious for the Royals.
Trevor Hahn: If anyone can figure out how to get a winning culture in the Royals locker room, it would be Matt Quatraro. He moved around small-market teams that had success in Cleveland and Tampa. There are still plenty of cracks to fill within the organization at all levels, but this is a start that everyone should be behind. Keep building for the future and the fan base will be delighted with the results.
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Mark Van Sickle: The hiring of Matt Quatraro is a breath of fresh air for the Royals. John Sherman and JJ Picollo did the right thing by bringing in someone from outside the organization. In the short term it would have been easy to hire one of their internal candidates, but in the long term it was a move they had to make.
Quatraro has had a string of successes with several small-market teams. Although he was never a leader before being hired in Kansas City, he appears to have the temperament and grit to handle a young clubhouse. Add to that the fact that I haven’t read a bad word about him from former players, colleagues or members of the media from his previous stints, it all adds up to make this look like a home run hire for the Royals!
Jerry Edwards: The Royals did the right thing by leaving home for their managerial hire. As much as people might like Pedro Grifol, he doesn’t have the resume of Quatraro and more than likely wouldn’t remove the dead weight of the Royals staff. Will Quatraro do it? There is a decision to be made at this point. Logically, the lease makes sense on all fronts and there won’t be much criticism around it. Quatraro will be dealing with a squad that will be drenched in experience, so don’t get your hopes up too high for next season. But if the Royals aren’t .500 or better by the All-Star break by his third year, there will be problems.
Jacob Milham: The Royals have named Quatraro as the franchise’s 18th manager, and I couldn’t be happier – an experienced bench coach, but with two different franchises. He has no MLB managerial experience, which is really his only “concern.” Players, managers and pundits have nothing but great things to say about him. He has experience with young and cheap teams, so he will fit right in in Kansas City.
Christopher Tenpenny: What excites me most about hiring Quatraro is that he appears to be a players’ coach who will let this young core be themselves. There have been too many rumors during Matheny’s era of tight locker rooms. Guys won’t be in the locker room like eggs and now they can focus 100% on becoming big leaguers. The added emphasis on analytics will be a breath of fresh air, and hopefully Quatraro will bring Cleveland and Tampa’s pitching development talents to KC. I’m excited to see him grow with a young roster. There will be growing pains, but I believe the Royals took a big step toward future success with this hiring.
Jordan Foote: As I noted shortly after the Quatraro lease became official, the Royals couldn’t have secured a much better name for their manager at this point in the process. Not only does the veteran coach come from a forward-thinking organization that is very analytics-friendly, but Quatraro has — by all accounts — what it takes to command and lead a young club like this current Royals team. It remains to be seen what the next steps will be to support Quatraro and its staff, but this seems like a clear step in the right direction for everyone involved.