KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Kansas City Royals President of Baseball Operations J.J. Piccolo addressed reporters Thursday after the team decided to part ways with manager Mike Matheny and pitching coach Cal Eldred Wednesday night.
“We thought the time was right to make the changes,” Piccolo said on the firings. “The last three years have been challenging.”
Piccolo said the decision to fire him came within the last two weeks, and performance was a main factor for the firing.
“We had good dialogue the last two weeks,” Piccolo said. “But we had expectations this season. We expected to be further along this season. We should have won more games than we did, but we didn’t.”
Piccolo said the next manager would be someone with a more analytical approach who works more closely with the analytics department. That department is something the Royals front office has worked hard to expand, according to Piccolo.
“We certainly need someone who is collaborative in nature [and] recognizes the departments we have in place,” Piccolo said. “This new manager will have to recognize and appreciate it and figure a way to put it all in play.”
However, when the new manager comes to Kansas City, he will not have complete control of building his staff.
Most of the staff on the hitting side, consisting of Alec Zumwalt, Kione De Renne, and Mike Tosar, will stay, as will first base coach Damon Hollins, third base coach Vance Wilson, and bench coach Pedro Grifol.
The Royals will cast a wide net for the managerial job, looking at Grifol and Wilson as internal candidates, and would also consider a proven and experienced World Series manager, like former Chicago Cubs manager Joe Maddon.
However, Piccolo said he will take his time to find the next manager. He said the list is significantly long but would not comment on how long the list is. He also said there’s no one specific candidate the team will go after.
Piccolo also believes the Royals' young core consisting of Vinny Pasquetino, Bobby Witt Jr, M.J. Melendez and Brady Singer, would help entice managerial candidates to come to the Royals.
“We got a good core here,” Piccolo said, “Our offense is very young. There’s a core that is very young and would be attractive to a lot of people.”