KC Royals: Mike Matheny will hopefully bring some changes

KC Royals, Mike Matheny (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)
KC Royals, Mike Matheny (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images) /

While there has been some concern surrounding the KC Royals new manager, fans should hope that he brings with him some changes to benefit the future.

When Ned Yost announced his retirement from the KC Royals, it brought a mix of emotions. Some were glad to see him go, while some fans were sad. Likely, a lot of fans felt both of these emotions, seeing that Yost’s time had run its course, but finding it difficult to let go of one of the few remaining World Series pieces.

The announcement came and went, and almost immediately, rumors started about who would be the replacement. While there were multiple names listed as possible replacements for Yost, one name always jumped to the front of the list, Mike Matheny.

Matheny was brought into the organization through the same route as Yost, both having been fired by their respective teams, and then eventually moved into the manager role for the Royals, so it was not out of line for most to assume Matheny was taking the same path as Yost from the start.

For many fans, though, the thought of Matheny becoming the Royals manager was not a happy one. St Louis fans had horror stories about the manager. He may have won some games with the Cardinals, but he was scrutinized for his handling of players and bullying in the clubhouse.

This worried many fans, and when Matheny was announced, there was a multitude of mixed reactions.

The dust has settled now, and while other teams are on the hunt for managers, the Royals are standing firm with Matheny. One can only hope that he has learned from his previous mistakes and can bring some positive changes to the Royals and help them with their rebuild.

While Ned Yost took the team to the World Series twice, there was always some concern in certain areas of his management. While there are a lot of unknowns surrounding Matheny, there are some concerns that I hope Matheny will address.

First off, knowing when players are past their prime. Of course, this may be subjective in some standards, and Matheny himself might not have as much say in certain signings, but he does have a say in who is on the field.

Think Alcides Escobar. Escobar was a great player for the Royals and helped them in their run to the World Series. But, he quickly fell off and his bat became basically non-existent. Still, Yost played Escobar every day while he could have allowed younger players to move up.

Matheney looks to be embracing younger players and has expressed interest in players like Ryan O’Hearn. If he wants to give the young players a chance to thrive, then that’s a positive. Hopefully, though, he will know enough is enough and move on to the next option.

The second area that will hopefully come into play is analytics. It was no secret that Yost didn’t much care for analytics. Fans saw the team using shifts, but that’s about as far as it went and Yost wasn’t even too sure of that.

While the team doesn’t have to move full force into analytics, it would be nice to see them more at play in the clubhouse. A great majority of the MLB is using analysts to help them win games, and while the Royals old school methods are nice at times, they obviously need to fix something.

There has been some talk about Matheny being interested in analytics and hopefully, that means he will be looking to bring some ideas to Kansas City to help push the team forward.

The final area that will hopefully see some improvement, is in pitcher and bullpen management. Yost’s pitching ideas often seemed to me as though he was calling Ricky Vaughn out to face the batter who always gave him trouble, just because he had a feeling.

Unfortunately for Yost, it didn’t work as well as it did in Major League. Sometimes things went well, and during the World Series run, the bullpen ran itself. Hopefully, this will change under Matheny.

In 2019, there were no set spots int he bullpen or rotation to begin the season and pitchers were moving around and trying out new things a month into the season. It would be nice to see Matheny solidify these roles quickly and stick to them, making adjustments as needed but not playing musical chairs until mid-May.

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There is no way to know what is going to happen for the 2020 season until it begins. Luckily, the wait is growing shorter and shorter and soon spring training will begin. While it will be different with Ned Yost no longer in the dugout, it will be interesting to see what changes Matheny can bring to the team to help them get back to the postseason.