Perhaps a bit under the radar in the aftermath of the celebratory spray of locker room champagne was the contract status of Ned Yost and Dayton Moore. Both Royals manager and general manager were under contract for 2016, but when you win a World Series, you pretty much get to set your terms. And besides, teams like the Royals don’t usually allow their management to go into lame duck seasons. Stability and safety count.
So when the Royals announced on Thursday they extended the contracts of Yost and Moore, it was met with a nod of the head, possibly a sigh of relief, and the resumption of business at hand.
Yost had two years tacked on to his deal and is now signed to the Royals through the 2018 season. That timing is interesting given we’ve only spent all winter discussing the core and how they will be together for the next two seasons before a potential rebuild is at hand. So think for a moment about that lame duck comment from above. This assures that as the current version of the Royals play out the string in 2017, Yost’s contract status won’t be an issue. It may not feel like it because that’s something the Royals haven’t gone through, but this is actually a pretty smart decision they tacked two years on beyond this season. There will be plenty of questions late in the 2017 season and Yost’s contract won’t be among them.
That’s not to say everything is done and dusted. It’s difficult to imagine Yost wanting to remain through another rebuild. He will be 63 at the end of the 2017 season and after going through some very lean years with a pair of organizations, it’s doubtful he would want to press the reset button. And you can’t blame him at all for that.
Yost is a future Royals Hall of Famer. Two World Series appearances and the franchise leader in wins will get you there. It’s also easy to imagine they will retire his number and they will put a statue out beyond the fountains in right field. I submit something like this for the design:
Yost has 925 managerial wins in his career, which ranks him 66th on the all-time list. PECOTA may not think it’s within the realm of possibility, but I’d say it’s very likely he gets that 1,000th win at some point this year. His transformation from tactical dunce (Yordano Ventura in relief in the Wild Card game, anyone?) to genius with his finger on the pulse of his ball club was sealed at some point last October. That may be a simplistic, national perception, but those of us who have followed the Royals for a long time know that Yost has always had the respect of his players. They have formed the ultimate mutual admiration society. We’ve discussed in-depth in the past Yost has his moments where he’s managing through a tactical haze, but he always has his player’s backs. That’s the managerial long view. That’s why Yost is such a good manager.
When Moore’s first extension with the Royals was announced in 2009, the Royals were on their way to a 97 loss season, the worst in his tenure with the club. It was announced at the end of August in that year. It was not a happy time. To me, it symbolized all that was wrong with the club. Perhaps Moore just needed extra time to get The Process in place. After just three years in charge, I was willing to listen to that argument. Even if the results at that point were less than promising. The timing was brutal, though. Maybe in retrospect, it was more ballsy that anything. A statement that the Glass family knew Moore was their guy in leading the team forward.
But it all worked out in the end, didn’t it? Which is really all that matters.
I fight an internal battle about Moore’s effectiveness as a general manager. There’s no doubt nearly everything he’s touched the last two and a half years has turned to gold, but the player development track record remains pretty dismal. Yet he did build a pair of World Series teams. Those are just two examples, there is so much that goes on behind the scenes. There is no such thing as a perfect general manager, but Moore, more than anyone, is responsible for setting the tone and building the foundation of what the organization stands for. He’s been wildly successful at transforming the Royals for also-rans to powerhouse. No small feat. If anything, he’s earned the security of attempting of keeping the window open beyond 2017.
At this point Moore and Yost are the Batman and Robin of the American League. After five and a half years, it’s difficult to imagine another paring of manager and general manager in the organization. It’s clear they feel the same. Yost has gone on record as saying he didn’t want to finish up his extension until Moore had his in hand. Such loyalty is admirable, as it’s seldom seen in this game.
Whatever they’re doing in management at One Royal Way, it works. Together, these two men built this Royals team and they deserve every opportunity to keep this run going. It’s nice to see they’ll be a part of this organization, and this city, for the foreseeable future.