I’m probably risking a fine from the guild for not putting the word “dreaded” before “vote of confidence” in that headline, but in this case I don’t think it’s appropriate.
Dayton Moore said that Trey Hillman is “exactly what our organization needs at this point in time.” Dayton Moore has been demonstrably wrong in almost everything he’s done since he took over the Royals. Ergo, Moore probably truly believes that Hillman is the right guy, and this likely isn’t one of those “dreaded votes of confidence” that often serve as the harbinger of a managerial firing.
The key to all of this, I think, is the “what our organization needs” at this point. Based on everything the Royals have done since David Glass took over as owner, what the organization appears to need most is profitability and the lack of headaches whenever possible. Firing a manager creates headaches. Firing a manager in mid-contract means you’ll have to pay two guys at the same time, both the former and current manager. That’s no way to be profitable!
So really, I think in the organization’s heart of hearts, keeping Hillman around is what is needed. Whether that’s good for winning baseball games, however, is another matter entirely.
Jon Morosi reports that that the Detroit Tigers will make all veterans available via trade if they’re still under .500 by the end of June.
This was the position they entered the offseason with — everyone is available! — but they ended up gearing up for one more push with the core of veterans they currently employ. It was not a bad move, I don’t think. With the exception of the Indians, the AL Central is mostly down, or at least appeared to be over the winter, with the Royals in decline and the Twins and White Sox seemingly a few years away from contention. The Twins, however, have been fantastic and the Tigers have mostly underachieved.
So we’re back to this. Which veterans the Tigers can reasonably unload, however, is an open question. J.D. Martinez is in his walk year, so while tradable, he may not bring back a big return. Guys like Justin Upton, Justin Verlander and Miguel Cabrera either have very large contracts or no-trade protection.
The end of June is still a while from now, of course, and while the Tigers are under .500, they’re only 4.5 games behind the Twins. But they had better turn it around or else it sounds like the front office is going to turn the page.
As you get ready for Memorial Day weekend and whatever it entails for you and yours, take some time to read an excellent article from Mike Bates over at The Hardball Times.
The article is about Eddie Grant. You probably never heard of him. He was a journeyman infielder — often a backup — from 1905 through 1915. If you have heard of him, it was likely not for his baseball exploits, however: it was because he was the first active baseball player to die in combat, killed in the Battle of the Argonne Forest in October 1915.
Michael tells us about more than Grant’s death, however. He provides a great overview of his life and career. And notes that Grant didn’t even have to go to war if he didn’t want to. He was 34, had the chance to coach or manage and had a law degree and the potential to make a lot of money following his baseball career. He volunteered, however, for both patriotic and personal reasons. And it cost him his life.
Must-read stuff indeed. Especially this weekend.