Posted on September 23, 2019, by Bryan Zarpentine
The end of the 2019 season will officially mark the end of an era for the Kansas City Royals. On Monday, Royals manager Ned Yost announced what many had speculated, which is that he will retire at the end of the season. Yost’s retirement will bring to an end a 10-year period that saw the Royals rise from last place when Yost took over in 2010 to world champions in 2015 and back to a rebuilding franchise in 2019. Kansas City is hoping to undergo a similar cycle in the years to come, but it won’t be with Yost as the manager.
“With the development of our young players and our returning veterans, I feel and hope the worst is behind us in this rebuilding phase of our organization,” Yost said in a statement released by the Royals. “My plan all along was to get us through the rough times, then turn it over to a new manager to bring us the rest of the way.”
The Royals lost at least 90 games in each of Yost’s first three seasons as manager. However, the club stuck with him and began its ascent in 2013, finishing 86-76 and staying within striking distance of a playoff spot into September. The following year, the Royals earned a Wild Card spot and went all the way to the World Series, losing in seven games to the Giants. In 2015, the Royals won a division title for the first time since 1985 and then won the World Series, also doing so for the first time since 1985.
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Following the championship, Yost oversaw a decline in the Royals, who struggled to hang onto most of the key players who carried them to a championship. Last season was the first year of a full-scale rebuilding project in Kansas City, as the Royals lost 104 games. The Royals currently sit on 100 losses in 2019 with five games left to play. However, both Yost and the front office believe there are enough pieces in place to start seeing improvement in Kansas City’s record in 2020 and beyond.
It’s widely believed that Mike Matheny is in line to be the next manager of the Royals. Matheny was hired as a special advisor last November, leading many to believe he would be next in line whenever Yost decided to retire. It’s widely believed that Matheny will be the manager in 2020. However, the Royals are going through a change of ownership, which could potentially complicate things.
Matheny is more than qualified for the job. He managed the St. Louis Cardinals from 2012 until he was fired midway through the 2018 season. Matheny took over a team that had won the World Series in 2011 and led them back to the World Series, albeit in a loss, in 2013. The Cardinals also reached the NLCs in 2012 and 2014 and won three straight NL Central titles from 2013 to 2015 under Matheny.
Whether it ends up being Matheny or someone else, the next Royals manager will have big shoes to fill. Yost spent a decade in Kansas City and delivered the franchise their first championship in 30 years. He won more games than any other manager in Royals history. When he formally steps down after Sunday’s season finale against the Twins, Yost will walk away from a franchise and a fanbase with whom he shares mutual respect and admiration.
“I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my time here as your manager and will never forget the good and the hard times we had together as an organization and a fanbase,” Yost said in his statement. “I will never forget the fact that you fans supported us through it all. Kansas City will always have a special place in my heart, and I look forward to rooting the Royals on to their next world championship very soon.”