Ned Yost will return to the Royals as manager for 2019 season

Ned Yost will return as the Royals manager next year, the club announced Sunday.

A frustrating year is ending on an uptick as the Royals dropped their season finale to the Cleveland Indians 2-1 on Sunday.

The Royals finished 58-104, matching the second worst mark in club history and their last place finish in the American League Central is their first since 2010

But the Royals went is 20-14 over the final five weeks.

The move was popular with the players.

“We love Ned,” Royals second baseman Whit Merrifield said. “If we can keep him out of a tree stand this offseason we should be in good shape moving forward.”

Merrifield was referring to an accident last November when Yost broke his pelvis falling from a tree on his property in Meriwether County, Ga. He was checking safety trips in a tree stand, used by deer hunters, when he fell about 20 feet to the ground..

Yost believes in some ways this team in its formative years is ahead of those that eventually went to the World Series in 2014 and 2015. He has seen a group of young pitchers and position players put in the work earlier than former stars like Mike Moustakas, Eric Hosmer and Lorenzo Cain.

“These kids, they’re all on the computer now at such a young age, seeking that knowledge,” Yost said. “Look, it took this coaching staff two or three years with Moose and Hoz and Cain to get (them) on the computer, do their homework ... and finally they figured it out.

“The first two or three years, it was like, ‘Come on, dude, do your homework.’”

Yost, 64, became the Royals manager in May 2010. The club improved its record each season and reached the postseason for the first time in nearly three decades in 2014. They reached the World Series that year, and won the franchise’s second championship in 2015.

Yost’s record with the Royals entering Sunday is 687-735. He was the Milwaukee Brewers’ manager from 2003-08 and Yost recorded victory No. 1,100 this season.

His postseason winning percentage of .710 (22-9) is best among those who have managed at least 20 games.

Yost signed a two-year extension before the 2016 season. He’s the Royals’ longest-tenured manager.

Blair Kerkhoff

Blair Kerkhoff covers the Kansas City Chiefs and Royals and college sports for The Star.