Royals Exercise 2023 Option On Manager Mike Matheny

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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.

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