KANSAS CITY -- The Royals have parted ways with pitching coordinator Jason Simontacchi after five years in the organization, the last three in his current position, and will not renew his contract after the 2022 season.
Simontacchi announced the news on LinkedIn on Thursday night, writing, “My days with the KC Royals are finished. I was Blessed to work alongside great people for 5 years and very thankful for that opportunity. God is great, and I’m excited to see what He has in store for me in the future.”
A former big league pitcher who spent parts of four seasons in the Majors and played for the Cardinals and Nationals, Simontacchi joined the Royals as assistant pitching coordinator in 2018. He was previously a pitching coach in the Cardinals organization.
Simontacchi’s work mainly focused on the young pitchers in the lower levels of the organization. He has worked with many of the starters the Royals have in Kansas City, including Brady Singer, Daniel Lynch, Kris Bubic and Jonathan Heasley.
The Royals were pleased with Simontacchi’s work, but cited differences in philosophy as a reason for moving forward.
“We appreciate what Jason did for us,” general manager J.J. Picollo said in the Royals' dugout prior to Friday's game. “He was a key contributor to a lot of the guys who are pitching in the Major Leagues right now and their successes in the Minor Leagues. Really had a positive impact on the lower levels of our Minor Leagues. Unfortunately, we just had to make a decision. At this time, we felt like we needed to go in a different direction. Jason’s an outstanding employee and will do a great job wherever he ends up working.”
Picollo would not comment on whether this decision signals others moving forward, but the Royals have begun evaluating all aspects of the organization with the Minor League season wrapping up and a little under a month left in the Major League season.
While acknowledging that the results haven’t been where they expected them to be in 2022 -- the Royals entered Friday night's game ranking among the bottom five of baseball in team ERA (4.68, 27th of 30), walks per 9 innings (3.80, 29th) and strikeouts per 9 innings (7.49, 28th) -- organizationally, the Royals front office has expressed confidence in the overall development and progression since 2019, when they hired senior director of pitching Paul Gibson.
The Royals typically announce restructuring and hirings in the offseason.
A source told MLB.com that the Royals also will not retain assistant general manager/international operations Albert Gonzalez, who was in his fifth season overseeing all parts of international operations, including scouting, player development and operation of the club’s Dominican Academy. Senior vice president/assistant general manager of Major League and international operations Rene Francisco will be more heavily involved internationally moving forward.