Kansas City Royals: Former Players Who Should Return in a Leadership Role
It is natural for former players to continue being involved, in some capacity, with the game they love after their days of grinding it out on the field are over. In most cases, that particular sport is all they have ever known, making it that much more difficult to pry themselves away.
Baseball, while no different than any other sport in this regard, actually lends itself for players to make a smooth post-career transition into roles close with the game.
From the broadcast booth down to the lowest level of rookie ball, there are more positions within a Major League Baseball organization that need to be filled than in the NFL, NBA, NHL or any other professional sport.
The Kansas City Royals employ a number of former players throughout various roles. They have done it for years. And while not all tenures have ended harmoniously, it hasn’t been for lack of trying.
Here are three former Royals who should be considered for roles within the organization.
Mike Sweeney: Hitting Coach
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When discussing the greatest hitters in the history of the Kansas City Royals, Mike Sweeney’s name has to be mentioned. His stretch from 1999-2005 can be considered the greatest of any player in the franchise’s history.
During that time, Sweeney batted .313 with 163 home runs and 676 runs batted in. He ranks fourth in Royals history in career batting average at .299 (just ahead of current hitting coach Kevin Seitzer), is tied for seventh with George Brett in on base percentage at .369, second in slugging at .492 and is second in home runs with 197.
Sweeney also had an extremely low strikeout rate for a middle-of-the-order hitter.
While his defense was certainly a liability at first base, Sweeney knew how to hit the baseball and was a likeable guy by most accounts.
This all equates to someone who could pass on his knowledge of the game in a fashion that doesn’t rub young players the wrong way.
Jeff Montgomery: Pitching Coach
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Jeff Montgomery currently serves as an analyst for Fox Sports Kansas City and contributes to the pre- and post-game shows for Royals’ broadcasts. He is also in the booth during select game telecasts.
While still closely connected to both the Royals and the game of baseball, Montgomery’s knowledge and his ability to purvey proper instruction would make him a great candidate to be a pitching coach.
Montgomery even released an instructional video titled The Fundamentals of Pitching with Jeff Montgomery, so there might actually be an interest for him to expand that desire to teach.
With his current role and his involvement with Union Broadcasting, it might be difficult to pry him away unless the position was to open up with the big league club.
Joe Randa: Manager
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Lately, it seems that the best managers in Major League Baseball are former players that displayed a certain grittiness about them during their playing days. Robin Ventura, Don Mattingly, Ozzie Guillen and Mike Matheny are all thriving in their continued roles in the game.
While Joe Randa will never be mistaken for being a star player, he came to work every day and played the game the right way—something that oftentimes gets lost with the younger generation.
Randa played good defense, was a decent hitter and was one of those players that was considered the glue of the team.
His knowledge of the game and his willingness to do what it takes to grind out a successful playing career would translate well as a manager.