Royals turn to Rays Quatraro as new manager

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.

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.

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.

“The bottom line here is it’s time for change,” owner John Sherman said last month. “There is a gap right now between where we are and where we expected to be. … I felt like in 2021 we did make progress, and in 2022, that’s not how I feel. There have been some bright spots — I love seeing the young players — but in 2022, we are not where we expected to be.”

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