The Royals are already known to have interviewed Phillies third base coach Dusty Wathan and Rays bench coach Matt Quatraro as they look for a replacement for manager Mike Matheny, who was dismissed at season’s end, and Anne Rogers of MLB.com adds (via Twitter) that they’ve also interviewed a trio of in-house candidates. Bench coach Pedro Grifol, third base coach Vance Wilson and Triple-A skipper Scott Thorman have each interviewed for the post as well, per Rogers.
That Grifol would interview for the now-vacant Royals position is hardly a surprise. He’s been a popular managerial candidate both in the past — interviewing with the Tigers in 2020, the Giants in 2019, the Orioles in 2018 — and in the early stages of the 2022-23 offseason. In addition to interviewing with his current organization, Grifol has also interviewed with the Marlins and been connected to the division-rival White Sox.
Grifol, 53, has been with the Royals since the 2013 season. In addition to his time as the Royals’ bench coach, he’s also served as the catching coach and a quality control coach. A former minor league catcher himself, Grifol has also worked for the Mariners organization, where he was the team’s director of minor league operations.
Wilson, like Grifol, Matheny and longtime Royals skipper Ned Yost, is also a former catcher. The now-49-year-old Wilson spent parts of eight seasons catching for the Mets and Tigers from 1999-2006, posting a career .250/.302/.377 batting line in 1054 big league plate appearances and notching a whopping 40% caught-stealing rate behind the dish. Wilson, who has also previously served as the Royals’ bullpen coach, interviewed for the team’s vacancy following Yost’s retirement — before the job ultimately went to Matheny. Of course, that interview was conducted when since-dismissed president of baseball operations Dayton Moore was running point in Kansas City; he’s since been replaced by longtime lieutenant J.J. Picollo.
Thorman, 40, was the Braves’ first-round pick back in 2000 — when Moore was in the Atlanta front office — and appeared in parts of two seasons as a first baseman and outfielder in Atlanta. He’s now spent eight years as a minor league coach and manager in the Royals’ system, with the 2022 campaign being his first managing at the Triple-A level. He’d previously managed the Royals’ Double-A and High-A affiliates. Given his experience in the system, Thorman knows young Royals talents like Bobby Witt Jr., MJ Melendez, Vinnie Pasquantino, Nick Pratto and others quite well.