Trey Hillman gets a vote of confidence from his GM

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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.

Alex Wood to try pitching out of the stretch

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Pedro Moura of The Athletic reports that Dodgers starter Alex Wood plans to pitch out of the stretch throughout the 2018 season. Wood got the idea when he watched Nationals starter Stephen Strasburg pitch against the Dodgers.

Wood, 27, finished last season 16-3 with a 2.72 ERA and a 151/38 K/BB ratio in 152 1/3 innings. That’s a mighty fine season, one in which many pitchers would not dare to mess with something that isn’t broken.

Interestingly, Wood indeed has had better results with runners on base — when he would pitch out of the stretch — as opposed to the bases being empty, with a respective OPS allowed of .523 versus .684, respectively. Over his career, he has allowed a .617 OPS with runners on and .706 with the bases empty.

In response to Moura’s tweet about Wood, retired pitchers Dan Haren and Jered Weaver took the opportunity to burn themselves. Haren tweeted, “I pitched a few seasons completely out of the stretch actually, just not by choice.” Weaver responded, “Sometimes I would just step off and throw the ball in the gap myself because I knew the hitter would do it anyways.”