Quick Thoughts on Trey HillmanMay 14th, 2010 by Lee Eldridge
Certainly nobody was taken by surprise, were they? The Royals are atrocious. Kansas City is 12-23. Only one team in baseball has a worse record than the Royals — The Baltimore Orioles. Sooner or later, a change had to be made.
Was Trey Hillman to blame? Yes. And no.
I see a lot of parallels between Trey Hillman and the position the Chiefs found themselves in with head coach Herm Edwards. Edwards is a good man, and a decent coach. Nobody could have coached the Chiefs to a winning record in ’07 or ’08. They just didn’t have enough talent on the team. But it was also clear that Edwards had some limitations as head coach. While the losing wasn’t his fault, it was also clear that Edwards was not a good enough coach to ever lead the team, given the right talent, to the promised land. Edwards’ flaws had been exposed.
I think that Royals’ general manager Dayton Moore looked at Hillman this week and came to the same conclusion. Hillman is a good man. The type of guy you root for in sports. The losing isn’t really Trey’s fault. There’s just not enough talent on the major league club to produce significantly more wins. But we’ve seen enough warts on Hillman to know he’s not the manager we’d hoped. Hillman doesn’t have a good enough feel for the game, or rapport with his players, to lead the Royals out of this mess.
I had already been thinking about writing a post about the Royals this week. A post to discuss some patience with the process. When Dayton Moore accepted the job four years ago as general manager, it’s hard to describe what a mess the Royals were in. And not just the major league ball club. Their minor league system was just as bad and underfunded as the major league ball club. By all accounts, the minor league system has taken some significant steps forward. Draft picks are starting to produce in the minors, but this is really a long-term project. Royals fans don’t want to hear it, but fixing the minor league system is realistically a five to ten-year process. And the Royals are just four years in. It may still be a few years of misery before the Royals begin to win.
Does this excuse the losses? Kind of. But we’ve also seen Moore make some bad mistakes with the big league club. His failure to fix the bullpen this year is what has hampered the current team the most. With a decent bullpen, the Royals have several more wins, and are at least within spitting distance of .500. And Trey Hillman is still the manager.
On a side note, I really enjoy the Star’s Sam Mellinger and his coverage of the Royals. Sam knows baseball. Here’s a link to his story on Hillman. It’s a good read.