After the 2019 season, news was announced that Ned Yost – the franchise leader in managerial wins with 687 – was retiring. Yost led the Royals out from the dark times, as the team owned a 29-year playoff drought that ended under Yost in 2014. When the team made the Wild Card that season and defeated the Oakland Athletics, they started a streak of eight straight wins. Kansas City ultimately came up short in the 2014 World Series, but came back and won the World Series a year later. Ned Yost won two American League Pennants and one World Series during his tenure. His accomplishments make him Royals legend worth placing in the team’s Hall of Fame.
New Skipper on the Block
Moving on from the decision, rumors surfaced about who would take over Yost’s position. At Overtime Heroics, we also took our guesses on who it might be. Finally, the team announced on October 31st, 2019, that Mike Matheny was hired to take over Yost’s position. Matheny was hired as a special advisor last November working with player development in the minor leagues.
At the beginning of the team’s hiring period, Mike Matheny immediately emerged as the front-runner for the managerial role. The former catcher was gaining interest from other teams, but his name continued popping up on the Royals’ radar. In his opening press conference, Matheny mentioned that he told his wife and kids that “I truly believe this is where I’m meant to be” after his first day with the Royals the previous year. The new skipper also told new owner John Sherman in his interview that “I truly see something very, very special about to happen here, and I want to be a part of it.”
Career and Managerial History
Mike Matheny played 13 years in the majors with four different teams. Over his career, the former backstop won three division titles with the Cardinals and won four Gold Gloves. He also the record for most consecutive games caught without an error with 253 games. Following his career and the retirement of Tony La Russa, Matheny took over as the manager of the St. Louis Cardinals.
In seven years as the Cardinals manager, Matheny had a record of 591-474. He won three division titles from 2013-2015, along with the National League pennant in 2013. Matheny also never had a losing season in his seven years and was the first manager to ever reach the postseason in his first four seasons.
Where to Go From Here
Looking at the minors, the Royals have a lot of young talent in the minors. The team has a young pitching core with Brady Singer, Jackson Kowar, Daniel Lynch and Kris Bubic. Other offensive names include SS Bobby Witt Jr. and OF Khalil Lee. Matheny has spent time with the young talent in the organization to make connections and learn about the talent the farm system. He’s done so at an ideal time, as the system has been rebuilt through the last few drafts.
In order to be successful, the front office will need to help Matheny by signing some free agents – especially pitching. The core of the team is filled with young names: Adalberto Mondesi, Whit Merrifield, Hunter Dozier and others. Combined with acquisitions and veterans, such as Salvador Perez, the team could return to success. But with the added help, the new skipper has a chance to impact younger players with his previous experience and love for the game.
Author Twitter: Ryan Blank