Royals hire Ray backup coach Matt Quatraro as manager

The Kansas City Royals have hired Matt Quatraro as their new manager, the team announced Sunday.

Quatraro has been a longtime member of the Tampa Bay Rays organization, most recently serving as their backup coach, a job he accepted in October 2018. He replaced Mike Matheny, who was fired.

The 48-year-old Quatraro was an eighth-round pick by the Rays in 1996 and went on to play seven minor league seasons with the organization, mostly as a receiver.

After finishing his career, he worked as a coach at Tampa Bay’s farm system before joining Terry Francona’s staff in Cleveland in 2014 as an assistant hitting coach. He then returned to the Rays as a backup coach in 2018.

Quatraro was selected by Royals general manager JJ Picollo, who took over as head of the club’s baseball operations following the sacking of longtime front-office executive Dayton Moore.

Piccolo and Royals owner John Sherman have said they want a visionary manager who is more statistic than in the past. They got that in Quatraro, 48, who has been a hot commodity in recent seasons, interviewing the Mets and A’s for their managerial positions last season.

Kansas City fired Masseni after a disappointing 65-97 season. In three seasons leading the team, he went 165-219.

The Royals had seen 2022 as a turnaround, but they were plagued by poor pitching, struggles from young position players and a lackluster cadre of veterans, and ended up at the bottom of the AL Central, 27 games behind the guards.

Pitching has played a major role in their woes in recent years. They have the fourth-best ERA and WHIP of any staff member to date in the majors this season. Pitching coach Cal Eldred was fired at the same time as Matheny.

“The bottom line here is that it’s time for a change,” Sherman said last month. “There’s a gap between where we’re at right now and where we expected to be. … I feel like in 2021 we’ve really made progress, and in 2022, I don’t feel like that. There are some bright spots — I Love seeing young players – but in 2022, we’re not at the level we expected.”

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