What They're Saying About Trey Hillman Getting Fired


Trey Hillman closeup.jpgContrary to popular belief, people still do pay attention to the Royals. Here’s what the blogosphere, allied media and one Royals player is saying about Trey Hillman’s firing:

It’s the players’ fault. If we win (more
this doesn’t happen.

Joe Posnanski: Why didn’t Hillman have more success as manager? There are numerous
reasons, none more significant than the lack of Major League talent the
Royals have put on the field day after day. As the old line goes, Casey
Stengel, Earl Weaver and Joe McCarthy combined weren’t winning with this
team . . . make no mistake, the big reason they have lost the last three years is
not because of Trey Hillman, it is because they are a bad baseball team.*

Sam Mellinger: This is a good thing, because Hillman was a problem, but only in the
sense that a broken arm is a problem for a patient in ICU.

Rany Jazyerli:
Wow. I thought it was coming – I didn’t think it
was coming today . . .
And for the record, I take no great pleasure in this. Hillman
earned this, but he was dealt a losing hand. I really do wish him the
best of luck.

Matt Klaassen: Trey Hillman needed to go, if for no other reason
than showing that there is some level of “accountability” within the

Jeff Sullivan: I’m not entirely sure why the Royals allowed Hillman to stick around
for one last game, fully aware of his inevitable fate, but in my head, I
like to think they were just giving him a chance to go out on a high
note . . . That, of course, is giving the Royals the benefit of the doubt, and
ignores any ulterior and/or incompetent motives. I don’t know that they
deserve that, but at least as far as Hillman’s concerned, anything’s
better than going out on a 4-0 shutout loss to Fausto Carmona.

Michael Engel: it’s not his fault entirely. Hillman may wear the uniform, but he
doesn’t step up to bat or toe the rubber. But he’s also made enough odd
decisions that worked to the detriment of the team and their chances to
win ballgames . . . that he had to go.

Can’t say I disagree with any of that.

*A substantial portion of Posnanski’s
is devoted to the idea that Hillman’s biggest problem was that
he simply had never been in a Major League clubhouse and that his lack
of experiencing led him to all sorts of mistakes.  It’s definitely worth
reading. Most writers would simply assert Hillman’s lack of big league
experience as a problem and expect us to believe it because they said
it. But Posnanski provides multiple examples of how the lack of
experience worked to Hillman’s detriment, transforming what often sounds
like a cliche into strong analysis.

John Lackey to start Game 1 of the NLDS for the Cardinals

John Lackey
Leave a comment

St. Louis has decided on John Lackey as the Game 1 starter in the NLDS versus the winner of tonight’s Wild Card game, manager Mike Matheny announced.

Lackey led the Cardinals in starts (33) and innings (218) this season while posting a 2.77 ERA and 175/53 K/BB ratio with 21 homers allowed.

Carlos Martinez being out for the playoffs with a shoulder injury took a big rotation option away from Matheny, but Lackey has a 3.10 ERA in 43 starts since joining the Cardinals in mid-2014 and also has a 3.08 ERA in 117 career postseason innings.

He’ll face either the Cubs or the Pirates, in St. Louis. No word yet on the order, but Michael Wacha, Lance Lynn, and Jaime Garcia figure to follow Lackey in the rotation.

The Yankees were booed last night. Did they deserve it?

Masahiro Tanaka

The boos came raining down from the Yankee Stadium faithful last night. They started when Brett Gardner grounded out in the eighth inning. More came later. A lot of it was, no doubt, based on Gardner’s disappointing performance late in the season. A lot of it was because, around that time, it seemed like the Yankees had zero shot whatsoever to mount a comeback. Which, in fact, they didn’t. A lot of it was pent-up frustration, I assume, from a late season skid which saw the Yankees lose their lead in the AL East and wind up in the Wild Card Game in the first place.

Anyone who buys a ticket has a right to boo. Especially when they buy a ticket as expensive as Yankees tickets are. It’s obviously understandable to be disappointed when your team loses. Especially when your team is eliminated like the Yankees were. And last night’s game was particularly deflating, with that 3-0 Astros lead feeling more like 10-0 given how things were going.

But isn’t booing something more than a mere manifestation of disappointment? Isn’t a step beyond? Booing isn’t saying “I’m sad.” It’s saying “you suck!” It’s not saying “I’m disappointed,” it’s saying “you should be ashamed of yourselves!” And with all respect to Yankees fans, the 2015 Yankees have absolutely nothing to be ashamed of.

This was a club expected to miss the playoffs, full stop. Maybe some people allowed for an if-everything-breaks-right flight of fancy, but hardly anyone expected them to play meaningful games late in the year, let alone a playoff game. They were too old. Too injured. There weren’t enough young reinforcements to fill the gaps. Some even went so far as to claim that they were about to spend years in the wilderness.

But then A-Rod broke out of the gate strong. And Michael Pineda had a really nice first couple of months. And Mark Teixeira put up numbers that wouldn’t have been out of place for him several years ago. The bullpen did what it was supposed to do and more, Masahiro Tanaka held together somehow and, eventually, a couple of young players like Greg Bird and Luis Severino came in to reinforce things. The not-going-anywhere Yankees were contenders. And they led the division for a good while. Of course they stumbled late. And of course they lost last night, but by just about any reasonable measure, this was a good team — better than expected — and, unlike a lot of Yankees teams in the past, was pretty darn enjoyable to watch.

Then the boos. I just can’t see how this Yankees team deserved that.

I realize a lot of people in the media have duped a lot of people into thinking that a team with a high payroll is supposed to be dominant. And I realize George Steinbrenner duped a whole lot of people into thinking that anything less than a World Series championship for the New York Yankees is failure. But that’s rhetoric and branding, not reason. In the real world where baseball players play baseball games World Series titles are rare, even for the Yankees. At the end of the season all but one of 30 teams are either at home for the playoffs or went home after suffering a gut-wrenching playoff loss. The Yankees are the most dominant franchise in the history of American professional sports yet they still have finished their year without a title over 75% of the time.

With that as a given, fans are left to judge their team’s performance based on its talent, its health, its heart, its entertainment value and the strength of the opposition which ultimately vanquished it. The Yankees weren’t nearly as talented as many, yet made the playoffs anyway. They were a walking hospital ward, let limped on. They never quit and never got pulled down into the sort of muck a lot of New York teams find themselves in when things start to go sideways. And, ultimately, they were simply beat by a better team. By any reasonable measure the 2015 Yankees were a good story, a successful enterprise, a resilient bunch and no small amount of fun.

It’s OK to be sad that it ended as it did. But that doesn’t deserve to be booed. Not by a long shot.