Two days after the 2013 season ended, the Royals signed manager Ned Yost to a two-year contract extension. The club had missed the playoffs, but their 86-win campaign convinced general manager Dayton Moore and the team’s ownership group Yost was the best candidate to snap the longest postseason drought in North American sports.
A year later, the Royals broke the streak. They played all the way to the seventh game of the World Series. On Tuesday Yost finished third in the voting for American League Manager of the Year. Despite the honors, he remains only under contract through 2015 and positioned as the proverbial “lameduck” skipper.
Yet, in a counterintuitive way, the success Yost experienced makes discussions about an extension a back-burner issue. Yost assured his future with the organization thanks to his success in October. He is still likely to receive a new contract, but Moore indicated the team had other priorities at the present.
“There’s a progression in the offseason,” Moore said. “There’s a sequential way we’re doing things. Right now, we’re focused on other things.”
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The Royals still need to find a replacement for James Shields in the starting rotation. They have engaged with free-agent hitters like veteran outfielder Torii Hunter and Cuban sensation Yasmani Tomas. They are also still interested in bringing back Billy Butler and Nori Aoki.
Whoever the team signs, Yost will be their manager. After the season ended, Yost indicated he hoped to manage for at least two or three more seasons. He is already the longest-tenured manager in franchise history. Any upcoming talks are expected to be relatively pain-free.
“Our relationship’s open,” Moore said.
Roberts, Paterson added on minor-league deals
The Royals announced the signing of infielder Ryan Roberts and left-handed pitcher Joe Paterson to a pair of minor-league contracts. Both were invited to major-league spring training.
Roberts, 34, has rotated mostly between second and third base across parts of nine seasons in the majors. He hit .105 in eight games with Boston in 2014.
Paterson, 28, posted a 2.95 ERA as a reliever for Class AAA Reno last season. He has pitched in 73 games in the majors, all of them with Arizona, but in only 11 since 2011.