You might be excused from thinking an AL-worst 57-86 mark this season was an indication Trey Hillman’s tenure as manager of the Kansas City Royals was a huge failure. In fact, argues the former Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters skipper, his club has much in common with (hang on) the New York Yankees, as the Star’s Bob Dutton patiently dictates.

œI don™t think all of the factors have been evaluated fairly, Hillman said. œIt all goes back to what we all get judged on ” wins and losses ” because that™s what counts in our world and in our culture of immediate satisfaction and what have you done for me today. There™s a lot that goes into (evaluating an organization).

œI know of a lot of things that are in the works for our minor-league system and our scouting department; things that I™ve seen improve just in the two years that I™ve been here.

Hillman draws parallels to his early days with the Yankees, whom he joined in 1989 as a minor-league coach before serving in their system as a manager from the following year through 2001.

œIt™s not too dissimilar, he said. œArguably, they™ve got more money than anybody else. But they didn™t make the playoffs (from 1981) until 1995 and didn™t make the World Series until ™96.

One of Dayton Moore™s first acts after a recent contract extension was to confirm Hillman will return next season to fulfill his three-year contract. The future beyond that is uncertain.

œI™d like to be here, Hillman said. œBut if I™m not here, that™s not the end game for me. I didn™t come into this with a selfish attitude, and I™m not going to go out with a selfish attitude. I just want the organization to get better.