There’s a new skipper in town and it’s pretty much the last person you’d ever expect. The Royals have hired former Cardinals manager Mike Matheny, as Jefferey Flanagan of MLB.com first reported and the team quickly confirmed:
Per league source, the #Royals have hired Mike Matheny as their next manager. A press conference to introduce Matheny could happen today.— Jeffrey Flanagan (@FlannyMLB) October 31, 2019
Matheny was at the helm of the Cardinals from 2012 to 2017, conveniently left with a talented and young team that Tony La Russa had molded for him. Meanwhile, since winning the World Series in 2015, whatever bad luck Mets magic rubbed off of them while at Citi Field must be sticking around because the Royals have been on a hard and fast decline.
Matheny has already been a part of Kansas City’s organization, hired by Dayton Moore as a special advisor for player development right after he was fired by the Cardinals in 2018. It’s unclear who or what he’s directly developed, but Moore has seen enough leadership out of the 49-year old that he wants more out of him (no pun intended). “Every department has had the pleasure to work and interact with him this past season. Through this interaction, it became very clear to our leadership team that Mike is the obvious person to lead our baseball team,” the Royals GM said in a statement today.
While Matheny’s postseason appearances with the Cardinals were impressive and exciting for fans, he faced serious backlash with his clubhouse tone amongst young players. The Royals are primarily a young team, and especially if one of the main goals here is the develop a strong farm system and rebuild, it’ll be interesting to see if that pattern continues in Kansas City or dies in St. Louis.
Mathney will be inheriting a Royals squad who went 59-103 last season. Here’s to hoping he can turn this car around.