Sam Mellinger spoke to former Fox Sports KC producer Kevin Shank, who was canned along with Frank White last week. Shank, also a born-and-raised Kansas Citian, is pretty upset at how things went down. As he tells it to Mellinger, Fox Sports reps said they were happy with his work. But the Royals may have had a bone to pick.
There is one incident I’ve heard about in connection with Shank’s firing. It’s a story from this past summer, that had Shank criticizing a player to another club. I asked Shank about this.
“That’s 100 percent true,” he said. “It was after Mike Aviles got sent down. The scout was with the Boston Red Sox. We’d just played in Boston, and Mike had just got sent down…you know, at the hotel, you run into scouts at the bar and you have conversations.”
“If you look at the quotes from the manager, Ned Yost, on the day they sent Mike Aviles down, I’m pretty sure he said the exact same thing. So I was pretty much repeating the words the manager said to the media.”
Shank makes the point that he’s exchanged opinions with scouts for all 22 years he’s worked around major league baseball. His contract doesn’t prohibit it, and in fact, he believes a good producer should do this to keep informed on other teams.
Shank knows the conversation got back to the Royals’ front office, in part because Boston ended up trading for Aviles. Asked if he makes a direct connection between this and his firing, Shank said, “Yes, yes, yes. Because the rest of the stuff they brought up was just hogwash.”
So the Royals are being purposefully vague about this, but a longtime producer universally respected for his work, who grew up in Kansas City and has rooted for the Royals his entire life, is left believing he was fired for what amounts to at worst a misdemeanor violation.