The Royals have agreed to a one-year contract extension with manager Ned Yost, per a club announcement on Sunday afternoon.
The widespread belief in recent weeks was that Yost would return in 2019, though there had been speculation earlier in the season about the Royals going in a different direction as they embark on a rebuilding project. This news solidifies Yost’s place within the Royals’ plans for the immediate future and continues the manager’s long-standing working relationship with GM Dayton Moore. Though they were seperated for a time as Yost managed the Brewers in the mid-2000s, Moore and Yost have been in the same organization for 18 of the last 25 seasons, dating back to their time with the Braves when Moore was a scout and Yost was a coach.
The Royals obviously endured a tough 2018 season after losing Eric Hosmer, Lorenzo Cain, and Jason Vargas in free agency while turning over a large chunk of their bullpen due to cost-cutting trades and losses in free agency. They’ve lost 103 games — already the third-most in the history of the franchise — and if they lose to the Indians in their season finale Sunday, their 104 losses will be tied for second-most in Royals history. That absolutely shouldn’t be sugarcoated, but it is worth noting that Kansas City has gone 15-12 in September, 20-13 since August 24, and has an opportunity to end the season winning seven of its last 11 series while splitting a four-game set during that stretch (and, at worst, splitting their current four-game series with the Indians).
Seeing as Yost is 64 years old and nearly lost his life last offseason after a gruesome fall from a hunting stand, it would have made sense if he wanted to step aside now — after all, he’s already won a World Series ring and doesn’t have a ton left to accomplish. But with Yost seemingly having righted the ship over this season’s final months with his collection of young talent, it makes sense to see if he can get this group back into contention next year. And with him being by far the winningest manager in club history and one of the most beloved players’ managers in baseball, it wouldn’t have been right to end his tenure in Kansas City as a lame duck managing out the string with a 100-plus-loss team.