KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Royals general manager Dayton Moore hinted to George Brett a couple of weeks ago about the Hall of Famer potentially reprising his role as interim hitting coach for the struggling franchise.
Moore says Brett told him that he had “a lot going on” this summer.
Moore also said in an interview with reporters before Wednesday night’s game against St. Louis that he thought Brett would stay on longer than he did last summer, when the franchise icon joined Pedro Grifol in a two-person team responsible for overhauling the Royals’ offense.
Brett wound up stepping aside after nearly two months. Grifol was given the job on a full-time basis, but was relieved of his duties last week with the team in another slump.
“If there was a chance George Brett would do it long term,” Moore said, “I wanted to give him that opportunity. … I was wrong, but I felt he had a chance to do it (long term).”
Since hanging up his cleats following the 1993 season, Brett has served as the club’s vice president of baseball operations. It’s a job Brett still holds to this day, and one that gives him more flexibility than the daily grind that comes with being a full-time coach.
The Royals have struggled to score runs most of this season, their stagnant offense a big reason why they’ve languished below .500. That’s why Moore approached Brett ever-so-subtly about stepping back into his No. 5 jersey, only to be ever-so-subtly rebuffed.
“I hinted one time up in the box. I asked him what he is doing this summer. He said he had a lot going on,” Moore said. “He knew what I was talking about. He didn’t say it.”
The Royals ultimately moved Dale Sveum into the role of hitting coach, making him the sixth one the Royals have had since Kevin Seitzer was let go at the end of the 2012 season. And through his first six games, Sveum appeared to have had a positive impact on the Royals offense.
Kansas City has scored at least six runs in four of those games.
“Pedro and George came in last year and freed up everyone mentally and we started to have success. I think it’s the same thing with Dale,” Royals manager Ned Yost said.
“Sometimes it takes that different voice,” Yost said. “It’s hard to explain how you can tell somebody 50 times, 50 times, and some guy walks in and says the same thing once and, ‘Oh, I get it.’ All of us that have kids understand that you can talk and talk and talk, and then your next-door neighbor says something and it clicks. Sometimes a different voice can change things.”
Of course, that doesn’t mean the Royals want to be swapping those voices so often.
“I’m not proud of the fact that we’ve had several changes with our hitting coach positions. That’s on me. That’s my responsibility,” Moore said. “Ned and I have to work together to make sure we find the right voice and the right teachers to help our players make adjustments.”