The Royals needed a pitching coach, and the rumor was they wanted a former Big Leaguer that survived for a lengthy period, while getting by on mediocre stuff. The Royals have now found their man.
Dave Eiland seems to be a perfect fit. Eiland pitching ten seasons in the Majors to the tune of a 5.74 ERA. For his career he averaged 3.7 strikeouts per 9 innings to 2.8 walks. Mediocre is an accurate descriptor for Eiland's career.
Eiland will take the place of former pitching coach Bob McClure. Throughout McClure's seven year tenure the Royals' pitching staff went through perhaps the worst stretch of the franchise. In my opinion it was without a doubt time to make a change.
While I think coaches and managers are generally overrated in their affect in Major League Baseball, I don't think that their presence is entirely without cause. In my eyes the Royals have three guys in Hochevar, Duffy, and Paulino that have displayed the stuff to be good strikeout pitchers. However, for some reason the current regime has saw fit to turn them into finesse guys.
The Royals would be much better served to implement a pitching plan that plays to each individual's strengths. I hope that with the hire of Dave Eiland and Rick Knapp as the Minor League pitching coordinator they will further separate themselves from a cookie cutter approach.
I don't want to act like this is a great hire, because quite frankly I have no idea if this guy is a better coach than the other available candidates. Truthfully it is probably tough for anyone to definitively know.
Eiland steps in to what could be a great situation for him. It is no secret that the Royals' pitching for the past several seasons has been on the whole pretty dreadful. If the numbers stay the same, it isn't Eiland's fault because he didn't have the talent to begin with, but if the Royals make a jump forward as myself and other believe Eiland instantly looks like a major reason for the progression.
Hochevar, Duffy, and Paulino all have the stuff and potential to become solid or even front end rotation pieces. During Eiland's tenure we should also see the debuts of several of the Royals' top pitching prospects. Eiland is going to have some talent to work with, let's just hope he is the right man for the job.