Brett hire gives Yost a reprieve

On Wednesday, I wrote that the Royals were in denial, seemingly unable to admit that change was necessary.

Well, they admitted it Thursday, admitted it in a big way by naming Hall of Famer George Brett as their interim hitting coach.

Whether Brett will succeed in his new role is an open question. The effect on manager Ned Yost also will be interesting, seeing as how it was Yost who sought the firing of hitting coach Kevin Seitzer at the end of last season.

The Royals reassigned the two coaches they hired to replace Seitzer, Jack Maloof and Andre David, to the minor leagues. But one rival executive believes that the hiring of Brett actually will buy Yost more time, reasoning that the Royals will want to see how the team responds to such a dramatic step.

Yost, in the final year of his contract, still will be in trouble if the Royals fail to snap out of their funk; the team has lost eight straight games and 19 of its last 23. As usual, Jim Fregosi is a hot name in scouting circles as a potential replacement; Fregosi, a special assistant with the Braves, is essentially a scout himself.

This time, though, a Fregosi candidacy might not be far-fetched. Royals general manager Dayton Moore previously was with the Braves, as were a number of other members of the Royals’ baseball operation. What’s more, Fregosi’s son, Jim Fregosi Jr., is a special assistant to Moore.

Fregosi Sr., 71, has not managed since 2000. In the view of the rival exec, he would be to the Royals what Jack McKeon was to the 2003 World Series champion Marlins, a guy who has been there, done that, doesn’t need the job and doesn’t care what players think.

Does Fregosi know the Royals’ players? Obviously not. But he’s at least familiar with them from scouting them, and it wouldn’t take him long to learn the team. His primary responsibility would be managing the game, and that should not be a problem.

Ah, but we’re getting ahead of ourselves.

The Royals first want to see if Brett can make an impact with their hitters, specifically struggling third baseman Mike Moustakas and first baseman Eric Hosmer.

They’ve gone from denial to desperation. And this shakeup might not be their last.