The Kansas City Royals flashed a new era of baseball with the arrival of many first-year players during the 2022 season, and the arrival of a new manager is marking the continuation of that next wave.
Merely a handful of days after hiring Matt Quatraro to become the 18th full-time manager of the Royals, the club formally introduced their 48-year-old skipper on Thursday morning. In front of Chairman and CEO John Sherman, Executive Vice President of Baseball Operations and General Manager J.J. Picollo, a packed media room and his family in attendance, Quatraro's put on his No. 33 jersey and spoke for the first time as a member of the organization.
Picollo revealed that he and his committee dwindled their list of managerial candidates down to seven after a larger pool of possible options to begin with. In the end, it was Quatraro who cemented himself as the man for the job and got introduced on Thursday. Below are some highlights and takeaways from Quatraro's press conference, featuring plenty of statements from him but also a few from Sherman and Picollo as well.
Quatraro stood out during the interview stage
Sherman: "We've talked a lot about organizational change and development and adapting process improvement. J.J. (Picollo) went right to work in his new role, resulting today in something that the club is very excited about."
Sherman: "J.J. (Picollo) put together a very rigorous process as he went about trying to select the best person for this job, and Matt (Quatraro) really rose to the top in that process."
Picollo: "When you're coming to a close, you're really trying to figure out, 'How do we poke holes in the guy we want?' I could not find anybody that had anything negative to say about Matt Quatraro."
Processes will look different now in Kansas City
Quatraro: "I think the one thing that was really clear through this process was that we're going to have a process for the way we make decisions. I was very confident in that, and that came out every step of the way. I think the transparency is going go to a long way with the players, with the staff, with the whole organization and with the community."
Quatraro: "I think the process that we all envision here is building a championship environment that is going to bring the Royals back to the top tier of Major League Baseball and be that way year after year."
Quatraro: "It's extremely exciting to be with a young group of players that's just hungry to get better. I think the other main thing is that there is a lot of infrastructure in place here to collaborate with. That came shining through with the interviews."
Quatraro: "The best teams to the worst teams in baseball, that line of winning night to night is razor-thin. Doing those little things that swing the games — holding leads, coming back on somebody late and beating them when they have you down — those things, they need to happen in your favor in the good years. That's what we have to try to focus on is just swinging those razor-thin differences."
Pitching continues to be a point of emphasis
Quatraro: "There's a tremendous amount of talent on the pitching staff here right now. I've talked to a handful of the guys already, and they're super anxious and eager to reach their potential. I can't tell you exactly what the process has been and how their careers have gone to this date but what I'm looking for from now forward is maximizing their potential."
Quatraro on new pitching coach: "We've been talking a lot. We're compiling a list right now, much similarly to what J.J. did for the manager search. Based on those qualities, we're going to do our best to come up with the best candidate."
Importance is placed on the players
Picollo: "With our players right now, I know they're eager to work with people that are willing to listen."
Quatraro: "I've started calling guys, talking to them and seeing what they're thinking. I couldn't be more transparent with that in that I've told all of them, 'Whatever you feel we need to do in this organization — on the field, off the field — you're not going to hurt my feelings, you need to let us know that.' Because this is their team. There's no manager of a major league team without those 26 guys."