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 bench coach, a job he took in October 2018. He replaces the fired Mike Matheny.
“I already knew the talent on the roster and how great the fans in Kansas City are, and the interview process convinced me that the terrific things I’d heard about the organization’s culture are true,” he said in a statement. “I can’t wait to get started, and for my family to get to Kansas City and be part of that community.”
The 48-year-old Quatraro was an eighth-round draft pick of the Rays in 1996 and went on to play seven minor league seasons, mostly at catcher, with the organization.
After wrapping up his playing career, he served as a coach in Tampa Bay’s farm system before joining Terry Francona’s staff in Cleveland as assistant hitting coach in 2014. He then returned to the Rays in 2018 as their bench coach.
Quatraro was chosen by Royals general manager J.J. Picollo, who took over as head of the club’s baseball operations after the firing of longtime front-office executive Dayton Moore.
Picollo, along with Royals owner John Sherman, had said they wanted a forward-thinking manager who was more data-driven than those of the past. They got exactly that in the 48-year-old Quatraro, who had been a hot commodity in recent seasons, interviewing with the Mets and A’s last season for their manager jobs.
“We are extremely excited to have Matt leading our club and core of talent,” Picollo said. “Matt has great experiences throughout his career that have prepared him for this. He thoroughly impressed us all during our interview process and is clearly respected across the industry. We are looking forward to working alongside Matt to bring winning baseball to our great fans.”
Kansas City fired Matheny following a disappointing 65-97 season. He was 165-219 in his three seasons leading the team.
The Royals had eyed 2022 as a turnaround campaign, but they were plagued by poor pitching, struggles from young position players and a lackluster group of veterans and finished last in the AL Central, 27 games behind the Guardians.
Pitching has played a large role in their woes of recent years. They had the fourth-worst ERA and the worst WHIP by far of any staff in the majors this season. Pitching coach Cal Eldred was fired at the same time as Matheny.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.