Trey Hillman's money isn't near his mouth

Leave a comment

Here’s Royals manager Trey Hillman on Mitch Maier, as quoted in the Kansas City Star on March 30.
“Full package. Honestly, no reservation saying this: I know I’ve never seen this much development at this level in one year for a position player.”
And here’s Mitch Maier’s batting line two games into the 2010 season:
.000/.000/.000 in 0 AB.
Yeah, it’s just two games. But it could well be a third on Thursday since Maier is a left-handed hitter and the Tigers are starting Dontrelle Willis after going with consecutive righties to open the season.
(Although, maybe not. Maier has actually hit lefties considerably better than righties during his major league tenure.)
Now, I don’t think Maier is going to have much of a career in the majors. He’s 27, and he got his extended chance last year and hit .243/.333/.331 in 341 at-bats. I’m perfectly fine with the Royals not playing him.
But what on earth is Hillman spewing in Kansas City? If he thinks Maier’s remarkable .475/.530/.814 line this spring is a sign of genuine improvement, then it’s mind-boggingly stupid that he’s holding him out of action in favor of Jose Guillen, Scott Podsednik and Rick Ankiel.
That’s part of what I’ve found particularly disgusting about the Royals these last 10 years or so. Some teams gamble and lose big. The Royals, though, go for the safe choice (cough*Jason Kendall*cough) and just keep losing big anyway.

Giants remove pitching coach Dave Righetti

Getty Images
2 Comments

After 18 years, 12 winning seasons, seven postseason runs and three World Championships, Dave Righetti is no longer a pitching coach for the Giants. He was removed from his post on Saturday, when the team announced a few reassignments as they shake up their coaching staff. Heading into the 2018 season, Righetti will serve as special assistant to general manager Bobby Evans, former bullpen coach Mark Gardner will step into a similar special assistant role to “assist in pitching evaluations,” and former assistant hitting coach Steve Decker will take a special assistant role in baseball operations.

According to MLB.com’s Chris Haft, Righetti was the longest-tenured pitching coach in the big leagues. He helped shape the careers of notable Giants’ aces like Madison Bumgarner, Tim Lincecum and Matt Cain — all Cy Young contenders (and, in Lincecum’s case, a two-time winner) at various points in their careers. He was there to assist Ryan Vogelsong during his stunning mid-career comeback in San Francisco. He helped newcomers like Chris Stratton and Ty Blach flourish even as the team stumbled to the bottom of the division. He was there to take the credit when a sterling rotation clinched the Giants’ 56-year, drought-snapping championship title in 2010 — and, when things went so horribly south in 2017, he took the blame as well.

Hardly anything went right for the Giants’ pitching staff in 2017. Madison Bumgarner was shelved after sustaining a serious shoulder injury in a dirt bike accident, Johnny Cueto couldn’t shake a cluster of blisters on his right hand and Mark Melancon found it difficult to justify a $62 million paycheck after pitching through an arm injury to four blown losses/saves and a 4.50 ERA. It would be a lot for any pitching coach to stay on top of, and given the team’s rapid descent from 2016 postseason contenders to last-place finishers in 2017, it’s not surprising that Evans felt the need to switch things up.

Successors have yet to be named for Righetti, Gardner or Decker, though Murray hears that the Giants could have interest in former major league pitching coach Jim Hickey. NBC Bay Area’s Alex Pavlovic adds that Evans is searching for someone to “put a new voice” on the pitching staff and will likely target someone who, like Righetti, brings considerable experience to the role.