KANSAS CITY – The Royals are bringing in a new face to lead their big league club, officially hiring Rays bench coach Matt Quatraro as their manager on Sunday night.
Quatraro is the Royals’ 18th full-time manager in franchise history, the hire coming after the club parted ways with Mike Matheny following the 65-97 season. A long list of candidates has been whittled down in the last three weeks – but Quatraro had been seen as the favorite, sources told MLB.com.
Quatraro is the first major hire of JJ Picollo’s tenure as executive vice president and general manager. In Kansas City, Quatraro leads a young team brimming with potential. Thirteen Royals made their major league debuts in 2022, and 21 rookies appeared in games this year, tied for third in franchise history behind 2004 (23) and ’02 (22).
With his coaching experience throughout the Minor Leagues, knowledge of how successful market clubs are run and the respect and admiration he has received from players, Quatraro checked all the boxes for the Royals.
Quatraro signed a three-year contract with an option for 2026 with the Royals, according to a source, and will be formally introduced to the media Thursday morning at Kauffman Stadium.
“We are delighted to have Matt lead our club and our talent,” Picollo said in the club’s statement announcing the appointment. “Matt has a lifetime of great experiences that have prepared him for this. He brought impressed all of us throughout our interview process and is clearly respected throughout the industry. We look forward to working with Matt to bring winning basketball to the fans we’re great.”
Quatraro, 48, spent the last five seasons on Kevin Cash’s staff in Tampa Bay, including one season as third base coach and four as bench coach. The Rays reached the postseason in four of Quatraro’s five years on their big league staff, including a World Series appearance in 2020.
Quatraro also served as an assistant coach at Cleveland from 2014-17, spanning Royals owner John Sherman’s tenure there. Quatraro’s experience and success in both helped his bid in Kansas City, as Sherman sees both Tampa Bay and Cleveland as models for small-market success.
In addition, Quatraro has the respect and admiration of players, coaches and executives from across the industry. He has interviewed for several managerial openings, including with the Pirates and Giants after the 2019 season, the Tigers after ’20, the A’s and Mets after ’21 and the Marlins this offseason before they leased Skip Schumaker – allowing the Royals to finish theirs. an offer.
“I’m grateful to Mr. Sherman and the ownership group, JJ and the front office and everyone else with the Royals for this opportunity,” Quatraro said via the Royals. “I already knew the talent on the record and how great the fans are in Kansas City, and the interview process convinced me that the horrible things I’ve heard about the group’s culture are true. I can’t wait to get started, and for my family to get to Kansas City and be a part of that community.”
In their new captain, the Royals are looking for someone to carry their young core – which includes Bobby Witt Jr., MJ Melendez, Vinnie Pasquantino and several young pitchers – to the next contention window, and Quatraro receives great praise. to communicate with players.
The Royals haven’t had a winning season since 2015, when they won the World Series.
“JJ and his staff developed and implemented a rigorous process that identified Matt as the best leader for our club,” Sherman said in the Royals’ release. “Matt is well-respected throughout baseball. with a proven track record and substantial contributions in two organizations that have built successful cultures through creativity and innovation. We are thrilled to welcome Matt, his wife Chris and sons George and Leo to the Kansas City community.”
A former catcher, corner infielder and outfielder, Quatraro played seven seasons in the Rays organization, peaking in Triple-A. His coaching career began with the Rays in 2004, with coaching and managerial stints throughout the Minor Leagues. He also spent four years as the Minor League hitting coordinator for Tampa Bay.
After hiring the manager, the Royals and Quatraro will turn to filling out the coaching staff. Their priority is to hire a new coach after Cal Eldred was let go on the last day of the season. Picollo has already announced that the hitting staff will remain largely the same, with Alec Zumwalt as the hitting coach and Mike Tosar and Keoni DeRenne as assistant coaches. Royals bench coach Pedro Grifol and third base coach Vance Wilson were internal candidates for the managerial opening, so whether they stay with the Royals in their positions is a must.