Royals reflect on 106-loss season

Kansas City Royals manager Matt Quatraro, left, talks to second base umpire James Hoye during...
Kansas City Royals manager Matt Quatraro, left, talks to second base umpire James Hoye during the second inning of a baseball game against the Houston Astros Sunday, Sept. 17, 2023, in Kansas City, Mo. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)(Charlie Riedel | AP)
Published: Oct. 3, 2023 at 10:00 AM CDT|Updated: Oct. 3, 2023 at 6:31 PM CDT
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KANSAS CITY, Mo. (KCTV) - Year one of the Matt Quatraro era is in the books.

The Royals finished 56-106 in their first season under Kansas City’s new manager — which tied them for the most losses in franchise history.

“Was it frustrating? Completely,” Quatraro said Tuesday during an end-of-year meeting with the media. “Nobody sets out on any season regardless of what sport or what level to lose. We got punched in the face early, and we didn’t recover.”

While this 2023 season was historically poor, it matches a consistent pattern in KC. The Boys in Blue haven’t had a winning season since their 2015 World Series run, and it could be a while before they get back to that caliber of play.

“This year was an eye-opener,” said J.J. Picollo, who took over as general manager and executive VP of baseball operations following the 2022 season. “I think what we showed is we weren’t ready to compete for our division this year. I don’t think the expectation was that, but the hopes were maybe ‘24. Right now, I can’t sit here and say ‘24′s the year when we’re gonna definitely win the division.’”

“Part of the reason I was able to be patient is because I believe in what we’re doing process-wise,” Quatraro said. “We’re not gonna turn things on a dime.”

A silver lining to an otherwise dark year came in the form of a shining star: Bobby Witt Jr. The shortstop emerged as a superstar in 2023, becoming the first player in MLB history with 30 homers, 45 stolen bases and 10 triples in the same year. Which begs the question: is a long-term deal coming for ‘Bobby Baseball?’

READ MORE: Bobby Witt Jr. becomes first Royal to reach 30-30 mark

“It’s clearly a goal of ours to sign Bobby,” Picollo said. “He’s an exciting player, he’s one of the best young players in the game. We would be foolish to not try to sign him long-term. We are working on that. I don’t really want to comment on it more than that’s a goal of ours. It would be exciting to do so. Special player, and we want to try to keep special players in our uniform.”

Heading into the offseason, Quatraro and company insist they’re staying patient and trusting the process.

“What’s the alternative, right?” Quatraro said. “You don’t come in here and curl up in the corner and cry about it. This is a win/loss industry and you’re gonna show up every day to compete. My patience does not mean I’m not competitive.”