Royals Do the Most Royal Thing Possible and Hire Mike Matheny

Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

By: Eric Boston @EricBoston3

The long-expected move has happened. Mike Matheny is now a part of the Kansas City Royals organization.

What does this mean for the franchise and the former St. Louis Cardinals manager going forward?

The Royals announced the hire the day after Thanksgiving, presumably an effort to make Black Friday even darker than normal:

The assumption is that current Royals manager Ned Yost may retire soon, perhaps after the 2019 season.  Yost, who managed Kansas City to the playoffs for the first time in 30 years with back-to-back World Series appearances in 2014-15, signed a one year deal to manage the team for the upcoming season. The 63-year-old skipper may know that he does not have much left in the tank.

However, Yost is known as a great manager for young players and Kansas City has plenty of those on the roster at this point.

The Royals are in a transition period, code for a rebuild, currently as the bulk of their championship squad are now playing elsewhere.  On the surface, Yost would seem like a good option to guide the growth of the young core. General Manager Dayton Moore understands that Yost will not be around forever and has stated in the past that a succession plan was in place for the team’s manager spot. He also said that Yost’s replacement was already in-house.

Does this indicate that Matheny is not a candidate to succeed Yost? Could this have been in the cards, bad pun I know, for Moore all along? 

So how much should Royals fans read into the hiring of Matheny?

There are some similarities between Matheny and Yost.

Both were hired as special assistants. Trey Hillman was the manager when Yost joined the organization. Hillman struggled through his tenure in Kansas City while Yost had recently found a certain level of success with the Milwaukee Brewers. In 2010 Hillman found himself out of a job and Yost quickly replaced him.

In similar fashion, Matheny led St. Louis from 2012-18 with a .555 winning percentage during his time with the Cardinals. So while he has a pretty solid track record, does that mean Matheny is in play as the next skipper of the Royals?

KC fans have every right for a certain degree of concern here.

While any team will happily embrace a winning ball club, which is what Matheny produced in St. Louis, not every manager has the skill set to navigate a rebuild. Matheny appears to fall into that category.

He took over a Cardinals team that was built around veteran players. While every roster contains its share of young guys, experienced athletes are what helped Matheny find success in his first managerial stint.

In 2018, St. Louis saw an influx of young talent and Matheny struggled to produce with them. In fact, he even displayed support of veteran players acting out a degree of harassment with young players:

Without going off on a tangent, Matheny is simply not the guy the Kansas City franchise will need to get back to competing, let alone back to the playoffs.

So unless Dayton Moore drastically changes his position and trades young talent for veterans, it is hard to see Matheny as the next KC manager. By no means is it impossible though and I would not be surprised by such a move. Moore may believe that a year around Yost and working in Player Development could prepare Matheny for such a task. Only time will tell.


What do the fans think? Give us your comments on the Royals hiring of Mike Matheny here and on social media.

Be sure to tune in for the debut episode of our affiliate, The I-70 Podcast, on December 8 for more coverage of Matheny's journey across the Show-Me State.

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