Kansas City, Mo. The vast rebuilding job that Ned Yost inherited as the manager of the Kansas City Royals was strikingly similar to the one he took on when he was hired by the Milwaukee Brewers.
The difference this time is that Yost will have a chance to stick around.
The Royals and Yost agreed to a two-year contract extension Tuesday after wrapping up an 86-76 season, the best finish for the franchise in 24 years. Yost’s contract was set to expire after the season, though both sides had expressed a desire for the manager to remain on board.
“Our main goal is to win the World Series, but we took a major step this year,” Yost said. “We finished 10 games over .500. That was huge for us. That was a big step.”
The next big step is to make the playoffs, something that Yost had the Brewers on the verge of when he was fired in 2008. He eventually landed in Kansas City and became the interim manager in 2010, and then lost more than 90 games each of his first two full seasons in charge.
His biggest task then was to help develop one of the youngest rosters in baseball, and the work began to pay off this year. The Royals rebounded from a disastrous May to go 43-27 after the All-Star break, and weren’t eliminated from wild-card contention until their penultimate series.
“Milwaukee was a great experience for me, like May was a good experience for our team,” Yost said. “I’m thankful for that opportunity because it made me stronger. It made me a better manager. The May we went through, it made us better, it made us stronger, because we endured it, and we were better for it the rest of the year.”
Yost, who is 741-831 in 10 seasons as a manager, held off on discussing a new contract until after the season. It came together quickly on Monday.
“When you have something good you need to stick with it,” outfielder Alex Gordon said after the final game, “and I think that’s what we have. We have a good manager that jells well with the guys on this team and we all have a good relationship.”
Yost’s two-year deal creates a strange situation in the organization in that general manager Dayton Moore is only under contract through next season. Moore declined to discuss whether he will also seek an extension this offseason, saying only that he’s “secure” with his situation.
“I’m at peace about where I am and what we’ve done,” Moore said.