KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Kansas City Royals manager Ned Yost will be back with the Royals in 2014. What a difference a winning season makes.
When the Royals were struggling through an 8-20 month of May, the return of Yost — whose contract expired at the end of this past season — looked anything but certain. That remained true even through the following months as the Royals blazed out of the All-Star break, soared above .500 and remained in the chase for a playoff berth through the middle of the last week of the season.
And now the uncertainty is gone. The Royals announced Tuesday morning that Yost has agreed to a two-year contract extension that runs through the 2015 season.
Yost led the Royals to an 86-76 record, their first winning season since 2003 and their best since 1989, when the likes of George Brett, Frank White, Bret Saberhagen, Mark Gubicza and Bo Jackson captured Kansas City’s fancy. But the team struggled for most of the next two-plus decades, which made the excitement of the 2013 season a welcome change in the City of Fountains.
Under Yost, the 2013 Royals recorded 42 wins after the All-Star break, which were the most in the American League. The club’s 14-game improvement from 2012 ranked third in the AL.
As a result of the re-signing, Yost will be able to work with a young team that appears to be on the rise. The Royals had three All-Stars in 2013 — left fielder Alex Gordon, catcher Salvador Perez and closer Greg Holland — and others, including first baseman Eric Hosmer, third baseman Mike Moustakas, shortstop Alcides Escobar, outfielder Lorenzo Cain and pitchers James Shields, Jeremy Guthrie, Yordano “Ace” Ventura and Danny Duffy appear to be ready to take the next step: a playoff spot.