Nothing was more obvious in baseball than the need for Trey Hillman to lose his job. That's a sad and inhumane statement. But that's the job he signed on for. This particular writer is very sensitive to people losing their jobs because this writer knows what it feels like. But really, this had to happen. Hillman just seemed to have this perfect knack for making the wrong choice in nearly every game he managed.
Hillman seems very well respected by his players and his bosses. Tributes to him were given by Brian Bannister among others. That shows Hillman is a first class guy. There is no doubting that he is. From all accounts, he gave 100% every day and to every game. He never mistreated his players or disrespected them. From the outset it was clear that he is good with ballplayers and a good man. But the results weren't there. And that's the bottom line.
It's also clear that Dayton Moore, the Royals' general manager adored the guy. He was a basket case in his press conference Thursday. He was obviously distraught. But Moore is also aware of the bottom line and the weight of failure was just too much to keep the blade from coming down on Hillman's tough neck.
Clearly, either Hillman was unfailingly unlucky or he just misjudged things all the time. This space has at least a half a dozen tirades about moves Hillman made this year and last. Other writers (much better than this one) like Posnanski and Rany had much longer lists and much more pointed diatribes.
Everything Hillman did worked out wrong. It was uncanny. He didn't bring Soria in when he should and the Royals would lose. Or he would bring him in one out too late or one out too early and the Royals would lose. He would bunt in the worst circumstances. It was surreal at times. If it was bad luck, then that needed to be exorcised. If it was simply bad judgement, then the source of that judgement had to go.
But also make no mistake here. Hillman is just a small piece of the blame here. He didn't bring in Guillen or Mike Jacobs or Farnsworth or Rick Ankiel or the dozens of other roster moves that made little sense. It wasn't Hillman that preached On Base Percentage and then went out and hired players who had a history of not getting on base. Hillman paid the price of those bad personnel decisions because his players could never overcome his bad decisions. Lots of managers make mistakes, but a lot of times, their teams bail them out of those mistakes because they are good enough to. Hillman never had that luxury.
Dayton Moore seems to be excellent at developing young players and the Royals are in much better shape than say the Astros because their minor leagues are stacked with talent. But Moore seems utterly terrible at rounding out his roster with players that can give the team a chance to win. If Moore really liked Hillman that much, he should have shared the blame because there is plenty to go around.
And while the Fan is at it, Ned Yost? Oh please. That's the best you could do? Ned Yost? Man. Valentine is out there. All kinds of better choices are out there than Ned Yost. The Fan wouldn't even want to be led by a guy named Ned. So let's see, their last two managers were a Trey and a Ned. The Fan knows you think this is crazy, but there is power in a name. Torre. LaRussa. Valentine. Strong names. Maybe it's because they are Italian. But names give heft to a person. Ned? Trey? Come on. Next thing you know, they will hire a manager named Dayton.
Update: Told you.