Glad to see George Brett as a visible face for the Royals, and glad to see him in a new capacity to help the drowning franchise.
But I’m verry cynical as to what this actually does for the Royals.
Let’s bounce off some ideas as to what this actually does for Brett, the Royals team and company management (specifically GM Dayton Moore and Manager Ned Yost):
1. This puts a struggling lineup on notice. There will be no excuses for players who don’t take the time to watch film (Moustakas) or can’t take walks (most of the lineup) or can’t work a count or take productive outs when needed (again, most of the lineup). There will also be no excuses for hitters who show signs of not listening to Brett’s tutelage.
2. Brett’s hiring should automatically clarify how the Royals attack opposing pitchers. It’s still unclear whether there was a huge chasm between what Yost said in December about the Royals’ power potential and now erstwhile hitting coach Jack Maloof stated earlier this week or whether Maloof was trying to take the heat off Yost or whether Maloof was diving off the ship. And now it doesn’t matter. In a way, this should totally torpedo what Yost said between seasons. This team is built for occasional power and a whole lot of doubles, much like it was when Brett played, so I anticipate he will preach hitters play to their strengths instead of forcing power (hear that, Chris Getz? Frenchy?)
2A. In a way, this could undermine Yost — if Yost hasn’t already done enough damage on that front himself. Brett has cast an enormous shadow over this franchise since his retirement, and it will be hard for Yost to tell No. 5 to go in a direction other than where No. 5 wants to go.
3. This should (should) automatically increase the energy level. If there isn’t anybody either with the makeup or the results to give this team the necessary kick in the pants, Brett is now officially the go-to guy. And nobody should argue if he looks at them like, well, he did during the Pine Tar Game.
4. Brett’s hire totally buys more time and, Royals brass hopes, more patience for a team which is virtually out of goodwill from its fan base.
4A. The move buys more time as well for the DaytoNed failure of the past several years, but not much. Moore is removed off the front burner for constructing a roster with next to no position-by-position depth and, aside from Luis Mendoza (yes, I’m counting Mendoza) and Danny Duffy, no homegrown pitching talent that’s anywhere close to big-league ready. Pretty big failures, if you ask me, especially with seven years of handcrafting a Process and selecting the talent to plug into said Process. Yost, meanwhile, receives a reprieve for his managing miscues, both on the field and with regional media. All of that, though, is a short-term sigh of relief if the talent on hand can’t practice what Brett preaches. Then more attention goes to NeDayton, and none of it will be good.
5. I don’t think does much to tarnish Brett’s legacy, unless he has the success levels enjoyed by Maloof and Andre David. And unless the Royals throw him under the bus if the offense sputters the rest of the season, which, honestly, I anticipate. With this bunch of (ahem) management, don’t you dare count that out if the season continues to head around the toilet and leave streaks.
In short, this is an interesting move for the Royals on the field. It may help, but I’m with a lot of other people. The Royals have waaaay too many holes for Brett to fix. Those holes should have been filled by YoMoore a loooooooong time ago. This was a move by two people who realized their time with the Kansas City Royals was running out.