Kansas City – The Royals are bringing a new face to their club’s leadership in the league, as they officially appointed Rays bench coach Matt Quatraro as their manager Sunday night.
Quatraro is the Royals’ 18th full-time manager in franchise history, and the hire comes after the club split from Mike Matheny after the 65-97 season. A long list of nominees has been narrowed down over the past three weeks – but Quatraro has always been seen as the favourite, sources told MLB.com.
Quatraro is the first major hire during J.J. Picollo’s tenure as Executive Vice President and General Manager. In Kansas City, Quattaro will mentor a young team that exudes potential. Thirteen Royals made their major league debut in 2022, and 21 Juniors made appearances this year, finishing third in franchise history after 2004 (23) and ’02 (22).
With his coaching experience in all of the minor leagues, his knowledge of how to run successful mini-market clubs and the respect and admiration he has earned from players, Quatraro checked all the chests of the royal family.
Quattaro has signed a three-year contract with an option of 2026 with the royal family, according to the source, and will be officially presented to the media on Thursday morning at Kauffman Stadium.
“We are extremely excited about Matt’s leadership of our club and core talent,” Piccolo said in a club statement announcing his appointment. “Matt has had great experiences throughout his career which have prepared him for this. He absolutely impressed us throughout our interview process and is clearly respected across the industry. We look forward to working alongside Matt to bring this winning baseball game to our fantastic fans.”
Quattaro, 48, has spent the past five seasons with Kevin Cash’s staff at Tampa Bay, including one as a third base coach and four as a bench coach. The Rays have reached post-season in four of Quatraro’s five years with a major league team working, including appearing in the World Championships in 2020.
Quattaro also served as Cleveland’s assistant hitting coach from 2014-2017, overlapping with Royal Family owner John Sherman’s minority stake there. Quatraro’s experience and success in both helped lead to his nomination in Kansas City, with Sherman looking to both Tampa Bay and Cleveland as models of small-market success.
On top of all that, Quatraro is respected and adored by players, coaches, and executives from across the industry. He’s done interviews with several management editorials, 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 off season before they hired Skip Schumaker – allowing the royals to finalize the show.
“I am grateful to Mr. Sherman and the Property Group, JJ and Front Office and everyone else with the Royal Family for this opportunity,” Quatraro told Royals. “I already knew the talent on the roster and how amazing the fans were in Kansas City, and the interview process convinced me that the wonderful things I had heard about the culture of the organization were true. I can’t wait to get started, and for my family to arrive in Kansas City to be a part of this community.”
In their new leader, the royals search for someone to nurture their young core – which includes Bobby Witt Jr., MJ Melendez, Vinny Pasquantino and a slew of young shooters – to their next rivalry window, and Quattaro receives high praise for his outreach to the players.
The Royals haven’t had a winning season since 2015, when they won the World Championship.
“JJ and his staff engineered and executed a rigorous process that revealed Matt is the best captain for our club,” Sherman said in the Royals announcement. “Matt is widely respected throughout baseball with a proven record and tangible contributions to two organizations that have built winning cultures through creativity and innovation. We are delighted to welcome Matt, his wife Chris, and sons George and Leo to the Kansas City community.”
A former fisherman, cornerback and defensive player, Quatraro played seven seasons for the Rays, leading in Triple-A. His coaching career with the Rays began in 2004, with coaching and managerial spells throughout the minor leagues. He also spent four years as the Minor League batting coordinator in Tampa Bay.
After appointing their manager, the royal family and Quattaro will now turn to fill the coaching staff. Their priority is to put a new coach on the field after Cal Eldred was let go on the last day of the season. Piccolo has It has already been announced that the battered side will remain largely the same, with Alec Zumwalt as the hitting coach and Mike Tosar and Keoni DeRenne as the assistant hitting coaches. Royal bench coach Pedro Greifol and third base coach Vance Wilson were internal candidates for the managerial opening, so it must be decided whether they will remain with the Royals in their roles.