SEATTLE — While negotiations remain on the horizon, Royals general manager Dayton Moore left no doubt Wednesday afternoon that he wants to retain Ned Yost as the club’s manager.
By BOB DUTTON
The Kansas City Star
“Ned and I made an advance decision a month or so ago that anything we would discuss would be after the season, and we’ve held to that,” Moore said.
“But Ned has done a terrific job, and I definitely want him back. We’ll sit down and talk about it. Contractually, Ned’s up, and we’re going to work together” to negotiate a new deal.
“It goes without saying that I want him back.”
Moore’s comments came before Wednesday’s game against the Seattle Mariners at Safeco Field. The Royals entered that game trailing Cleveland by four games, with five games left, in the race for the final American League wild-card spot.
Negotiations between Moore and Yost could commence this weekend in Chicago if and when the Royals are mathematically eliminated from postseason contention.
“Right now, mathematically, we’re still in this,” Moore said. “A lot of things have to fall our way, but we’ll discuss it at the appropriate time. You certainly want to have it settled as soon as you can.”
Yost confirmed on several occasions that he wants to return, but industry sources indicate he might have opportunities to manage elsewhere if he fails to reach a new agreement with the Royals.
Moore’s support is a crucial factor. Royals owner David Glass said last week the decision on whether to retain Yost rests solely with Moore.
“Whatever happens with Ned is up to Dayton,” Glass said. “That’s his call. I like them both. I think both of them are doing a really good job.”
Moore’s contract runs through 2014, which could be a hurdle in talks to retain Yost. It’s rare that a manager’s contract extends for a longer period than the general manager.
Glass indicated an extension for Moore is possible.
“We’re all in this together,” Glass said. “Dayton is a part of the family. I think he’s done a really good job. I think Ned has done a good job.”
Yost, 59, served as Milwaukee’s manager from 2002-08 and replaced Trey Hillman as Royals manager on May 13, 2010 with a contract that initially lasted only through that season.
A two-year extension, announced July 31, 2010, included a club option for 2013. The Royals exercised that option on Feb. 14, 2012.
Chris Dwyer’s big-league debut didn’t start well Tuesday night when he replaced Royals starter Bruce Chen to start the sixth inning against the Seattle Mariners.
Two singles, one on a play that could have been made, and then a stolen base and an error. That quickly, Dwyer found himself facing a second-and-third jam with no outs and the top of the order coming up.
“Just step off, take a deep breath and realize that it's the same game, obviously,” he said. “My curveball was working for me, so that's what I went to.(I was) a little anxious when I first got out there, but I knew I’d settle down.”
Dwyer struck out Brent Miller and Abraham Almonte before retiring Kyle Seager on an infield pop. That put his first inning in the books with a zero.
“He did a nice job,” Yost said. “Second and third (with no outs), and he pitched himself out of it. He got through two innings with (allowing) nothing.
“You look for spots to get young guys in. It was a good spot, and he responded nicely.”
Dwyer’s performance was a rare bright spot in a 4-0 loss that dimmed the Royals’ postseason hopes. They entered Wednesday trailing Cleveland by four games with five remaining for the final wild-card berth.
“I got a little behind in the beginning,” he said, “but it was a good thing to bounce back. Everything worked out.”
Dwyer’s debut came one week after he retired the first 20 batters while working seven scoreless innings on Sept. 17 in Omaha’s 2-1 victory over Durham (Rays) in the Triple-A Championship game.
“That was awesome, too,” he said, “but making your major-league debut is special. It’s something I’ll never forget.”
The Royals summoned Dwyer to the big leagues the day after the Triple-A title, which capped a five-year journey that began in 2009 when selected in the fourth round after his freshman year at Clemson.
At times, it’s been a rocky journey.
Dwyer, 25, is 34-37 with a 4.57 ERA over 105 games, 103 starts, in his minor-league career. But he was 10-11 and 3.55 this season in what club officials saw as a breakthrough at Omaha.
“You’re going to have ups and downs,” he said. “I knew that, and that the only thing I could control was to keep working hard and keep a positive attitude.
“I think the biggest thing was fastball command. Getting ahead with strike one. Getting my change-up over when I’m behind in the count has been big for me, too. Just commanding my pitches has been the main thing.”
Price of help
The asking price in any negotiation isn’t always indicative of a final price, but here’s a tidbit to keep in mind when wondering whether the Royals might try to find some outfield pop this winter in the free-agent market.
Agent Scott Boras is targeting a $100 million deal for Shin-Soo Choo, according to Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com. And know this, Heyman generally has reliable insight on anything connected with Boras.
Heyman polled some general managers who predicted Choo, 31, is more likely to get $75 million for five years. He is batting .287 for Cincinnati with 21 homers and 54 RBIs in 150 games through Tuesday.
Other outfielders who are pending free agents include Carlos Beltran, Marlon Byrd, Nelson Cruz, Jacoby Ellsbury, Curtis Granderson and Hunter Pence.
Think you have that special something required to be a member of the KCrew for Royals games next season at Kauffman Stadium and other community events? Here’s your chance.
The Royals are now accepting applications through Oct. 18. The form is available online at Royals.com. Applicants must be 18 by April 1, 2014. There also is a $10 nonrefundable processing fee.
Invitations to audition will be sent via email on Oct. 22, and auditions will be held Oct. 26 at Kauffman Stadium — the 28th anniversary of Dane Iorg’s two-run single in the sixth game of the 1985 World Series.
Idaho Falls third baseman Hunter Dozier, the club’s first pick in the June draft, was cited by Baseball America as the top prospect in the Pioneer League.
“Dozier projects as a solid middle-of-the-order hitter, and scouts believe that many of his doubles will turn into home runs as he gains experience and learns to incorporate his lower half more consistently,” Baseball America reported.
The Royals selected Dozier, 22, with the eighth overall pick and shifted him from shortstop to third base. He produced a .303/.403/.509 slash (average, on-base and slugging percentage) in 54 games at Idaho Falls.
Baseball America also cited three other Royals among the Pioneer League’s top 20 prospects: outfielder Elier Hernandez at No. 11, catcher Zane Evans at No. 13 and left-handed pitcher Cody Reed at No. 14.
It was 28 years ago Thursday — Sept. 26, 1985 — that Steve Balboni set a franchise record when he clubbed a two-run homer in a 5-2 victory over the Mariners at the Kingdome here in Seattle.
The homer was Balboni’s 35th of the season, which broke the club record of 34 by John Mayberry in 1975. Balboni finished the season with 36 homers, which remains the franchise record.
No Royals player has hit 30 or more homers since Jermaine Dye had 33 in 2000.