JJ Picollo to be named next Royals General Manager

According to a host of people on Twitter, it looks like Royals GM Dayton Moore will vacate the title of General Manager today at 2:00 PM during a press conference with Royals owner John Sherman. Assistant GM and Director of Player Development JJ Picollo appears set to take over the title of GM with Moore’s “promotion.”

First thing I want to mention is that I don’t actually see this as a “promotion” for Dayton Moore. The Royals may try to frame it that way but I think this is more of a lateral move than anything. Moore has been invaluable to the Kansas City baseball community and should play an integral role in the advancement of this organization in all phases of its development. I just don’t think he’ll have as big a hand in personnel or player development as he used to. This could be seen as a good thing. I don’t mean to imply that the game is starting to pass GMDM by BUT we have a fundamental shift in the way the Royals have built their roster, developed minor leaguers, and drafted in recent years. One could probably argue that JJ Picollo and Assistant GM Scott Sharp have played an integral role in that for the last several seasons.

Back in 2019, when the Royals core of MiLB hitters was struggling mightily at High-A Wilmington, JJ Picollo made trips out east to personally work with some of the Royals most prominent young prospects. That offseason the club brought in Minor League Hitting Coordinator Drew Saylor and things have not been the same since. They’ve been spectacularly better in almost every way and while they may not be perfect, the way the Royals are coaching up these young hitters is night and day compared to what it used to be. This is great news for young hitters such as Bobby Witt Jr., MJ Melendez, Nick Pratto, Vinnie Pasquantino, etc. It’s also great news for the Royals, who seem to have turned a corner in player development of late.

How this decision will immediately affect the big league club in 2022 remains to be seen. This team is under an immense amount of pressure to be competitive. If you want to strap on the tinfoil hat, you could argue they made this move to buy them another year of mediocrity before really going for it in 2023. The idea being that a new GM would have a little more grace than a GM with 10+ years under his belt. I don’t think that’s anywhere close to the truth, but I can see someone running with that. I actually think this move means more change is coming. Will Mike Matheny, Terry Bradshaw, and Cal Eldred still be coaching in 2022? I think it’s fair to wonder at this point. I really don’t know what to expect but I wouldn’t be surprised by literally anything anymore either.

Big takeaways:

  • JJ Picollo absolutely deserved this and was probably going to get another GM job elsewhere after the season the Royals prospects had in 2021
  • Dayton Moore will still be influencing personnel decisions, he just won’t have the final say anymore
  • The player development side of things may have literally never been in better hands
  • Look for some potential shakeups on the big league roster/staff in 2022
  • Look for a potential promotion for Alec Zumwalt to Assistant GM and Director of Player Development
  • Look for Drew Saylor to potentially be promoted to THE Minor League Hitting Coordinator

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