While the Kansas City Royals will be without Ned Yost next season, the former manager alluded to the team to have a tighter leash on underperformance.
When you’re in the midst of another 100-loss season, the leash is pretty loose on underperforming players because the problems go way beyond that. For the Kansas City Royals, they had lackluster play coming from the outfield, infield, starting pitching, and the bullpen. As I said, more than one individual.
And while Ned Yost will not be leading the team next season, he made several good points in an interview at the end of the season.
"“It’s going to get real next year,” Yost said in Minnesota. “You’re not going to be able to come in here and hit .160. You’re just not.” – Kansas City Star"
He didn’t name anyone in particular but look all over the roster and guys like Bubba Starling and Brett Phillips, who hit for 0.215 and 0.138, respectively did little to convince anyone that they deserved the starting centerfield position going forward. And while Starling posted a better 0.250/0.286/0.400 line in over his final 15 games, it means little over the course of half of the season in the big leagues not producing.
A much larger sample size is Ryan O’Hearn at first base. The 25-year-old played in 105 games this season and slashed an unimpressive 0.195/0.281/0.369 with 14 home runs and 38 RBI. He posted a 0.275/0.359/0.600 line in the final month of the regular season but, again, it’s hard to get excited about it over the course of a full season in 2020. Especially when the Royals made a trade at the end of August to acquire the services of Ryan McBroom to potentially complete for his starting spot next year.
The starting rotation in 2019 was so bad that Glenn Sparkman continued to get regular starts despite his last game in which he didn’t give up any runs was on July 16. Other names of disappointing starters included Jorge Lopez, Eric Skoglund, and Jakob Junis (at times). It’s nice to hear that the Royals will start holding their players accountable next season with change coming if they don’t significantly improve.
"“These guys are highly capable of competing to win our division,” Dayton Moore said. “I believe in our players. We’re going to expect a lot out of them going forward. I expect a lot out of myself and our baseball operations department, our medical team, our performance science department, everything that we do. I expect a lot out of all of us to make sure we’re in a better position to win more games and compete next year.”"
While I believe some of what General Manager Dayton Moore said was just lip service, there’s no doubt that they appeared to bottom out this season and the arrow is ever so slightly pointing upwards. Maybe at just 1-degree but we’ll take it at this point. They certainly have a nice core of pieces on the roster in Whit Merrifield, Adalberto Mondesi, Salvador Perez, Jorge Soler, and Hunter Dozier. Combined with the boatload of pitching prospects that will be coming up within the next couple of years, it’s hard to not be excited about what the future holds but at the same time, the Royals front office needs to start to fill in the missing pieces via free agency and or trades.
And that’s exactly where the accountability starts to come in because some of these players are going to get a shot early in the 2020 season to prove they are worthy of a roster spot. Otherwise, don’t be surprised to see the Royals cut the cord a bit faster next season.