Rays bench coach Matt Quatraro hired to manage Royals

Matt Quatraro’s prospects to be a major-league manager have been well known for years.

So much so that other Rays coaches used to tease him when there was an opening, or even the expectation of one, by putting that team’s media guide at his locker so he could brush up on details before a potential interview.

The process took several years and interviews with more than a half-dozen teams, but Quatraro now has that opportunity, hired Sunday as manager of the Kansas City Royals.

Quatraro, 48, will be introduced formally at a news conference Thursday, taking over a team rebuilding with a young core of players and new front-office management after seven straight losing seasons.

Quatraro said in a news release that he appreciated the Royals giving him the opportunity, which reportedly is a three-year deal plus a 2026 option.

“I already knew the talent on the roster and how great the fans in Kansas City are, and the interview process convinced me that the terrific things I’d heard about the organization’s culture are true,” he said. “I can’t wait to get started and for my family to get to Kansas City and be part of that community.”

Quatraro has been the Rays’ bench coach for four seasons, serving as manager Kevin Cash’s top assistant with myriad responsibilities. He was promoted after one season as third-base coach after Charlie Montoyo was hired as Blue Jays manager following the 2018 season.

“I am absolutely thrilled for ‘Q,’” Cash said. “He is more than ready for this opportunity to step into the manager role with Kansas City. He is a stand-up person who was always prepared for the team, and his leadership will definitely be missed.”

Quatraro’s departure could lead to several changes on Cash’s staff — which already has seen bullpen coach Stan Boroski retire and be replaced by Jorge Moncada — depending on who takes over as bench coach and whether anyone else leaves.

The Rays tend to fill openings internally. Third-base coach Rodney Linares, who managed for 12 years in Houston’s minor-league system and will be the manager of the Dominican Republic team for the upcoming World Baseball Classic, would be a strong candidate. Triple-A manager Brady Williams could be promoted to the big-league staff in some role.

Quatraro has been a top candidate for several manager vacancies in recent offseasons. He interviewed earlier this month with the Marlins and White Sox, and previously with others, including the A’s, Giants, Mets, Pirates and Tigers.

He becomes the fifth former Rays coach to be hired as a manager, joining Rocco Baldelli (Twins), Dave Martinez (Nationals), Derek Shelton (Pirates) and Montoyo, who was fired in July. Former Rays major-league players to manage include Baldelli, Mickey Callaway, Cash, Ozzie Guillen, Gabe Kapler and Martinez.

Quartaro was an eighth-round pick in the then-Devil Rays’ inaugural 1996 draft and played parts of seven seasons in the minors. He started coaching in the Rays system in 2004, managed four years (2006-09) in the lower minors, then spent four years as a minor-league hitting coordinator.

He got his first chance to go to the big leagues in 2014, hired by the Indians as an assistant hitting coach on Terry Francona’s staff. He returned to the Rays after the 2017 season as third-base coach.

“We are extremely excited to have Matt leading our club and core of talent,” Royals general manager J.J. Picollo said in the release. “Matt has great experiences throughout his career that have prepared him for this. He thoroughly impressed us all during our interview process and is clearly respected across the industry. We are looking forward to working alongside Matt to bring winning baseball to our great fans.”

• • •

Sign up for the Rays Report weekly newsletter to get fresh perspectives on the Tampa Bay Rays and the rest of the majors from sports columnist John Romano.

Never miss out on the latest with the Bucs, Rays, Lightning, Florida college sports and more. Follow our Tampa Bay Times sports team on Twitter and Facebook.