Royals name Mitch Maier director of baseball operations

First base coach Mitch Maier congratulates outfielder Bubba Starling upon getting his first big-league hit in July.
Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

Mitch Maier, a former player and coach for the Kansas City Royals, has been named the team’s director of baseball operations.

Maier’s move from the field to the front office is the first major organizational change under John Sherman, who was introduced as the team’s new controlling owner last week.

Maier replaces Alec Zumwalt, who has moved from director of baseball operations for player development and scouting to director of hitting development.

Maier, 37, was the Royals’ first base coach the last two-plus seasons while also helping coach Royals outfielders and baserunners. Before joining the big-league staff late in the 2017 season, Maier served as the organization’s minor league outfield/baserunning coordinator in 2017.

Dayton Moore, the club’s senior vice president-baseball operations and general manager, said Maier “will be involved in all aspects of leadership” in his new role.

“He is a terrific leader and person who is highly respected throughout the baseball community,” Moore said, “and brings a wealth of experience as a major league player and coach to our baseball operations department.”

The Royals finished second in Major League Baseball with 117 stolen bases last season. Shortstop Adalberto Mondesi, despite missing considerable time with injuries, had a career-high 43 of those steals, also second in the majors. A year earlier, Whit Merrifield led the majors with 45 steals.

The Royals selected Maier with the 30th overall pick of the 2003 draft. From 2006-12 the outfielder played 359 career games with Kansas City, batting .248 with 36 doubles, 14 triples, 10 home runs, 122 runs and 15 stolen bases. He spent the 2013 season in the Boston Red Sox organization with Triple-A Pawtucket, his only season outside the Royals organization, and finished his playing career with Double-A Northwest Arkansas in 2014.

“It’s a great opportunity to grow within this game and grow within this organization,” Maier said. “I’m excited to transition into this new role and look forward to continuing to contribute to the Kansas City Royals.”