Kansas City Royals general manager Dayton Moore's announcement of the firing of Manager Trey Hillman, moments after Zack Greinke(notes) picked up his first victory of the season on Thursday, makes perfect sense.
Even more so when you consider that Ned Yost, who is Hillman's replacement, was fired from his previous managerial job by the Milwaukee Brewers with 12 games remaining in the 2008 season — when the Brewers were tied for the wild-card lead.
Desperate teams do strange things.
The move makes further "sense" because Yost has been waiting in the wings ever since K.C. hired him over the winter to be a special adviser to baseball operations.
(That's French for "Hillman insurance.")
Does Hillman (right) look like a guy who was told he's been canned? The pic was taken Thursday; Hillman was given the choice of managing one last game. It's sad and sweet at the same time.
Not so sweet, the state of the Royals. They won Thursday with K.C.'s untrustworthy bullpen actually holding a lead for Zack, but the Royals' 12-23 record puts them dead last in the AL Central. They're bad, even unwatchable — except when Greinke pitches — and everyone knows it. Just last season, they put a multimillion-dollar facelift on Kauffman Stadium, but an awesome giant TV is going to hold people's attention for only so long.
Hillman, who is the first skipper to be fired in 2010, did not appear to be a good manager over his two-plus seasons with the Royals. His lineup decisions have been criticized with reason, his in-game tactics have been criticized with reason, his interpersonal skills the same.
Hillman's most recent big move was to change David DeJesus'(notes) spot in the batting order. All of the Titanic's deck chairs sank, to coin a phrase. You have to be a much better manager than average to survive the crap rosters Moore has provided.
That's why Moore (right, peeping through fence) fought back tears at the postmordem press conference — because of what he gave Hillman to work with. At least by firing Hillman, Moore gets to take some heat off himself, his scouting department, all of his departments.
Good news: Baseball Prospectus ranked the Royals farm system No. 10 in the majors.
So, help might be on the way.
Just not nearly in time to make Trey Hillman a better manager.