If you have ever gotten a new boss or been the new boss, you know that the first few days the new one always seems great. Well, either that, or you resign immediately because you want to punch the new boss in the face. Given that I have not heard anything about anyone wanting to physically accost new Royals’ skipper Ned Yost, I think it’s safe to assume he is officially in the honeymoon period of his job.
That, of course, has been helped in no small part by the fact that Yost won two of three in his first series at the helm – Even if it was against the White Sox and even if it was accomplished basically using Trey Hillman’s lineup. Still, you have to like what we have seen and, more particularly, heard just three short days into the Yost era.
- On Friday night, Gil Meche had pitched an effective, if not efficient, six innings and signalled to Yost that he wanted to pitch one more inning. Now, let me interject that I want pitchers on my team that don’t want to come out of games – too many guys these days are content to throw five or six innings and pack it in. The key, of course, is having a manager who knows when to say when. Yost did so by simply shaking his head ‘no’.
- On Saturday, Yost left Luke Hochevar in as he struggled (and eventually lost the game) in the seventh inning. Instead of a Hillman-esque cover-your-ass-for-godssake-don’t-tell-the-media-the-real-story sort of explanation, Yost simply announced that he had to manage both for the current situation AND the future. Basically, if Luke Hochevar is going to develop into a real bonafide major league starter (in Ned’s words: a number two or three type starter), he needs to learn how to get out of jams without looking to the dugout for help. It might have cost the Royals the game on Saturday, but it might pay off in the long run.
- On Sunday, the Royals optioned Kila Kaaihue back to Omaha. Now, the recall of Bryan Bullington to essentially take Robinson Tejeda’s bullpen spot due to Tejeda’s injury and the Royals certaintythat he does not need to be put on the disabled list is a whole other store, but what Yost said about Kila is telling. Among other things, Yost indicated that it was ‘killing him’ to see Kaaihue sitting on the bench and also that Kila was definitely going to a part of the club’s future. We didn’t have to hear about how Kila ‘needed more seasoning’ or ‘how they just wanted to give him a taste of the majors’. Instead, we got the truth (or as much as can be reasonably told): Kila was not going to play and it was far better to get him at-bats in Omaha than have him wear a sweatshirt in Kansas City.
- Without question, the move most popular amongst the Royal fandom was the dismissal of Dave Owen as third base coach even before Yost managed a game. No fanfare, no niceties, no ‘let me have a look with my own eyes’. Simply, get out, you are not good at your job.
Of course, all that seems fresh and good and right with the world when one has not had a chance to see any of Ned Yost’s failings. A month from now, on the heels of an eight game losing streak, we might well be lamenting Yost’s stubborn aversion to taking Hochevar out of a game or yanking Meche too early or not bunting (which Ned dislikes, by the way).
Come July, if the Royals have not traded Guillen and Kaaihue is still rotting in Omaha, we will no longer believe the Kila is ‘a big part of the future’ talk. If we have actually forgotten what Brayan Pena looks like because Jason Kendall has caught 31 straight games and we are still hearing about how we all don’t understand just how good Yuniesky Betancourt really is in the field, than all the warm fuzzy Ned Yost feelings many of us have now will be long gone.
Without question, it is good to be the new guy, but the ‘new’ only lasts so long and in today’s modern world, it is a fairly short period of time. We will get a better look into Ned Yost tonight in Baltimore as he has hinted at some lineup changes and with Kyle Davies on the moung, we will also get another look at his bullpen management style. It is certainly possible what we see, we may not like.
For now, however, the first impression of Ned Yost is a good one.