As if we didn't know this was coming, what we call a textbook 'visit from the inevitable' occurred immediately following a great Royals game on Wednesday.
Trey Hillman was no doubt informed when the Royals returned from their road trip that he should start packing right away; the club made the announcement at the end of the Indians @ Royals series. 5 minutes after I turned the game off, the messages started pouring in...
It's pretty fair to say that this just didn't work out right from the start. I was optimistic about the possibilities, but in all fairness...I've been a Japanese baseball fan for many years (longer than MLB in recent times) and Hillman's success in NPB just can't translate over here.
Nick at Broken Bat Single hit the nail on the head during his 5/13/10 Podcast: Trey 'knew everything' and this pretty much led to his downfall. I want to take that assessment one step further and attempt to grasp this - he thought he "knew better" than everyone else. In the Japanese leagues, this works most of the time, but if the front office disagrees, you submit to them and that's that (dependent upon which club you are managing). Hillman in MLB pretty much took his headstrong way into the Royals organization, without any checks and balances from the Royals front office, and this is one way you can speculate on his early exit as the club manager.
So, "that didn't work" and it's time to move on. Trey will make a fantastic bench coach for any team, probably better in the AL unless he shows some signs of strategic flexibility. As a bench coach, he can still profess that he 'knows better,' but has a direct voice next to him in the dugout that can rule out when he's wrong and not carry an unpredictable situation on the field into a predictable disaster.
He probably won't be returning to Japan...he burned a few bridges there.
Hillman really is one of my favorite people in baseball, here's a toast to Trey...you gave it your best shot (seriously) and here's hoping you find something soon in the type of position for the type of organization that can utilize your prowess to a harmonious advantage.
As for the Royals...this team does deserve better. Kauffman is Holy Ground, and there seems to be enough talent on the team that can make a difference with the right leader. Ned Yost probably isn't that leader, but who knows?