Kansas City Royals quality control/catching coach Pedro Grifol made enough of an impression on the San Francisco Giants to garner a second interview to potentially replace the retired Bruce Bochy as the club’s manager.
Grifol, who is also a candidate for the Royals’ managerial opening, has been asked to do a second interview according to MLB Network Insider Mark Feinsand. Grifol initially interviewed with the Giants earlier this month.
Grifol, 49, joined the Royals organization in 2013. He’d previously worked for the Seattle Mariners in several capacities ranging from scouting to player development.
Former Royals manager Ned Yost expressed support for Grifol at the end of the season, but stopped short of advocating publicly for Grifol as his replacement as Royals skipper. Grifol interviewed for the Baltimore Orioles’ managerial opening last offseason.
“I think Pedro needs to manage somewhere, but I don’t want to get involved in that situation,” Yost said in September.
Former St. Louis Cardinals manager and current Royals advisor Mike Matheny is believed to be the front-runner for the Royals job.
Grifol worked as an area scout and then as a minor-league manager with the Mariners from 2000-05, then minor-league field coordinator from 2006-08 and minor-league director of operations from 2008-11. He managed their Single-A affiliate High Desert in 2012.
Grifol started off with the Royals as a hitting coach at the rookie ball level of the minors in 2013, but the Royals elevated him to a special assignment coach for the major-league staff in late May and hitting coach in late July. He became catching coach in 2014 and added quality control coach to his title in 2018.
Grifol also managed three years of winter ball in Venezuela, including one trip to the finals, and he managed last winter in the Dominican Republic.
A former catcher who spent nine seasons in the minors and reached Triple-A after an All-American collegiate career at Florida State, Grifol has worked out Royals catchers such as Salvador Perez and highly regarded catching prospect M.J. Melendez during the offseason in Florida.
He also worked very closely with Royals outfielder/designated hitter Jorge Soler on his approach at the plate.
This season, Soler bounced back from an injury-shortened 2018 season and broke the franchise single-season record for home runs and became the first player in club history to lead the American League in homers with 48. Soler also led the team with 117 RBIs and posted a .922 OPS.
Similarly to the Royals, the Giants have been deliberate in their managerial search process.
“To me the number one quality is just relationship building,” Giants president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi told reporters in San Francisco at the end of the season. ”That goes most importantly in terms of the players. … The flipside of that is having a relationship with the front office and being able to work with them. In the modern game, having a manager that can have productive and trusting relationships on both avenues is really important.”
Former Philadelphia Phillies manager Gabe Kapler and Houston Astros bench coach Joe Espada are also among the candidates who’ve reportedly been invited for second interviews for the opening.