The Royals announced Thursday that they’ve exercised their 2023 club option on manager Mike Matheny. He’d previously been set to enter the final guaranteed season of his original three-year deal.
Matheny, 51, is entering his third season as Kansas City’s skipper after succeeding longtime manager Ned Yost. The Royals have gone 100-122 under him since he took the helm, though the 2022 and 2023 seasons will be more telling in terms of the team’s record. Kansas City’s hopes for returning to contention rest in no small part on the development of top prospects like Bobby Witt Jr., Nick Pratto, MJ Melendez and a host of young pitching options (e.g. Brady Singer, Daniel Lynch, Jackson Kowar, Kris Bubic, Jonathan Heasley). Everyone from that group figures to contribute at the MLB level in 2022 and certainly by 2023 — and the team’s performance in those pivotal seasons will be more reflective than their 2020-21 records.
That said, the Royals are an immensely loyal organization and could well explore a contract extension of more substance with Matheny before even seeing how the 2023 season plays out. Managerial performance is evaluated now, more than ever, on far more than just the win-loss column. Yost himself serves as proof of that, as even in spite of a 2014 World Series appearance and a 2015 World Series win, the Royals only had three winning records during his decade-long tenure (during which they went 746-839 on the whole).
The Royals hired Matheny as a special assistant to the front office and an instructor in camp a year before Yost’s retirement, suggesting that the former Cardinals skipper was being groomed as Yost’s successor well before the move became official. Matheny, who also managed the Cardinals for seven seasons, has a 691-596 record in nine big league seasons and was the runner-up in 2015 National League Manager of the Year voting. The Cardinals reached the World Series under him in 2013 but fell to the Red Sox in six games.
Top notch man! Great things ahead for KC Royals!
IM DONE WITH THE ROYALS OMG
To blame the Manager for the Royals issues is ridiculous.
It’s not about you
I wish the Cardinals hadn’t cut loose Matheny in the first place. Matheny was prematurely canned in 2018 and IMO his replacement was sub-standard and not an improvement.
Do you mean the 2019 Manager of the Year was sub-standard and not an improvement?
The Manager of the Year who didn’t even have the most first place votes for The Manager of the Year.
Yes AA_Cardinals THAT replacement. No matter what short-term success he had, Schildt was never manager material, at least not by St. Louis Cardinals standards, anyway. I attribute much of Schildt’s success to him being handed the keys to an already good team. I think the Cardinals pulled the plug way too early on Matheny. Even Tony LaRussa had an occasional down season or two in St. Louis.
I knew Schildt was a wannabe clown during that infamous 2019 pre-NLCS speech. The embarrassing brain-dead speech was reminiscent of what a coach might say to a bunch of drunk frat boys (a la Bluto Blutarsky in “Animal House”). What a goof.
Maybe my expectations are unrealistic. I was born in St. Louis and have been a fan of the St. Louis Cardinals for 40 years, and my expectations of a Cardinals manager are pretty lofty.
Matheny was in St Louis about 3 years to long! He sucked! I can’t believe anyone hired him, he must have naked pictures of someone? SHM
I disagree. At the time of the firing it was abundantly clear Matheny lost the clubhouse and we were 47-46 at the time and the previous year we finished 83-79. Shildt came in and went 41-28 with the same team to finish the season. It’s hard to justify calling a manager substandard with Shildts record of 252-199.
I mean they fired him too, so…
Shildt was a far better manager than Matheny
I loved Matheny as a player and still admire him as a person. I defended him as a manager until the bitter end in St. Louis. But it was an obvious move. He was a paint by numbers manager whose old school approach to motivating players was too abrasive for many.
I wish him the best in Kansas City. If their young players embrace his approach or if he has veterans who can act as a buffer while still supporting his message, maybe things will work out better. He also would need a strong bench or pitching coach to help him with in game decisions. Probably wouldn’t be my choice to lead a young team back into contention. Still, best of luck Iron Mike.
They could always have an Aaron Boone hug-a-thon for their learning lessons. We all see how effectively that leads them to championships. Granted, the players love it because, well, they’re the ones in charge.
John Rocker fan club
Matheny got cut cause Yadi demanded it.
And Fowler piled on
Matheny never understood how to manage a bullpen/game or use analytics. I know he took a class in analytics AFTER he got fired and many managers are better in their second gig but he deserved to be canned in St. Louis.
Funny how Rosenthal only really had success under him though both in Stl and KC. He was often blamed for overworking arms but he has seemingly pulled the best out of his relievers more often than not even if his in game management of the staff is pristine.
I didnt even know that Matheny was the manager I though Ned Yost was still there lol
When LaRussa left STL, Matheny inherited a stacked team. As that team got dissolved over the years, well the manager needs to step up. He didn’t. Matheny could screw up a wet dream.
John Rocker fan club
Eh, why not.
He’s never been regarded as a strong manager. Probably won’t make much difference to the Royals in 2022, but they should be looking for an upgrade for future seasons if they plan to contend.
Obviously Dayton Moore didn’t consult RobM before offering an extension. Talking beyond yourself but probably not the first time
RobM: I felt the same way about Boone when they brought him in – ya know, a stopgap manager for 3 years… until our hopes & dreams were crushed with an extension of the Buddy Booner.
Yep it is
Matheny has about S much business running a MLB team as a first grader. The guy does less with more than any MGR in the decade
Whoa! Wait, hold up… Ned Yost isn’t the Royals manager? And they hired this guy in his place, then selected his option?! Hm, well, I guess Samuel’s team isn’t nearly as important to us as the Yankees are to him…… For obvious reasons.
Lol. The dude literally pops a blue-colored pill any time a Yankees article gets posted.
Bottom line, it’s difficult to analyze a manager’s skill when it’s primarily dependent on the GM to find MLB talent.
Exhibit…Cardinals GM (Mozalik) who continues to struggle in building a complete starting pitching staff and bullpen year over year.
It is ABSURD for the Royals front office to jettison managers left and right when it’s THEIR fault that they cannot put talent on the field. Royals’ ownership and GM should fire themselves!!!