May 13

Trey Hillman won’t get fired, and that’s fine by me

trey-hillman-getty2.jpgAm I about to defend Trey Hillman?
Am I going to say he has earned the right to finish out his contract?
Will I suggest that he’s a better fit for the Royals than whoever would be brought in to replace him if he were fired today?

Oh gosh, no. No, no, no, no.

Trey Hillman has been awful. He has baffled us, frustrated us, made us all so mad we wonder why we ever liked this team. Worse, he has endangered his players, played an active role in deciding many Royals losses and even thrown his own players under the bus when he and his staff made a boner.* And that’s all just this week. This has been going on for two whole seasons.

*I have always wanted to use that word to describe a blunder. Thank you for indulging me. Carry on, now.

Trey Hillman is flat-out awful at his job. Rany and Craig outlined some of his more egregious offenses very well, so I won’t repeat those things. And it has even been brought up in the KC Star that a lot of people are calling for Hillman’s head on a platter.

I don’t fully disagree with the Fire Trey Hillman crowd. Trey is employed and being paid, so he should either do an awesome job or gtfo, right?

But what would that accomplish? John Gibbons once intentionally walked Tony Pena, Jr. so I’m loathe to think he’s the answer. I’m sure he’s the guy the Royals would turn to in Hillman’s absence, but that doesn’t mean it’s right. Even the best darn manager in baseball right now – whether you think that’s Terry Francona, Joe Maddon, Jim Tracy or whomever* – could not make this team win.

*if you think the best manager in baseball is Tony La Russa, you are excused from this blog. Yuck.

The Royals suck. There might be more elegant ways to put it, but a spade is a spade and the Royals are the Royals. A better manager would not have let Yuni bat in the 8th last night, nor done any of the other things listed in the posts I linked above. But – aside from murdering Gil’s arm because that one is a BIG deal – how much difference would a Joe Maddon have made? A manager can’t make pitchers stop walking people. He can’t make batters stop swinging at bad pitches. He could maybe let Kila Ka’aihue pick up a bat once in a while, but in the grand scheme of things – what’s the point?

This season is lost. Whether SABR Trey is at the helm or someone else is, the Royals are still on a clear path to 100 losses. Some might point to the Rockies’ mid-season manager switch for reasons to believe it could work, but the Rockies had a lot more talent. The Royals have a few fine pieces, sure. Greinke, Soria, Butler and maybe even Aviles could play for any Major League team. Kila could really be something special, of course. DeJesus is at least decent at everything. But the rest of the Royals are at best, just guys, and at worst, Yuni.

It’s not that I think Hillman should keep his job. If I was awful at my job, I’d expect to be given my walking papers. If you were terrible at your job, you would anticipate a firing too. It’s just that firing him is much too small of a solution to the Royals’ problems. If Moore fires Treydaddy, he could say, “Look, fans, I did something! Now we just have to wait and see how this shakes out before we can move on with the Process.” But Moore is the guy who is supposed to move the Process along anyway – he can give even a terrible manager better pieces to work with, and make this team better without making pointless personnel shifts.

Trey should either be fired this week – while it’s still kind of early in the season – or not at all. As long as the players who fill out the roster are as collectively bad as they are, I suspect that the end result will be the same no matter which path Moore chooses. 

Related posts:

  1. Dear Trey Hillman: the Shealy edition

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