Yost should be safe despite wretched start

By Steve Sell
April 19, 2018

Cincinnati fired manager Bryan Price today as the Reds have started the baseball season with a 3-15 record.

But don’t expect another manager with a similar record to suffer the same fate.

The Kansas City Royals under manager Ned Yost have started the year with a 3-13 record and mired in an eight-game losing streak as they head to Detroit on Friday for a doubleheader.

But Yost is safe. He’s earned that right.

Yost has guided the Royals from the depths of despair to a World Championship in 2015, a year after they had lost Game 7 of the World Series to the San Francisco Giants. He’s certainly earned a pass given everything he’s done for the franchise.

Yost is the same manager now as he was for those great teams. He’s low-key and never criticizes his players publicly. He’s the definition of steady, never getting too high when the team is going well or getting too low when it’s struggling.

Yost is playing the hand that he’s been dealt. The Royals were socked by free agency after last season and the bullpen has been decimated and a major reason the team is flailing. The team has little power and is not hitting for average.

The Royals lost Eric Hosmer, Lorenzo Cain, Jason Vargas and Melky Cabrera to free agency and have replaced them with Lucas Duda, Jon Jay and Eric Skoglund. That’s not even close to a fair tradeoff.

The Royals elected not to re-sign Peter Moylan, and traded away Joakim Soria and Scott Alexander, which severely weakened the bullpen. They have replaced them with a rag-tag bunch that could be ever-evolving.

Brandon Maurer, the supposed eighth-inning set-up man, is now in Omaha, a far cry from the pitcher who came to Kansas City last year after saving 23 games for San Diego.

A stat that caught my eye was that Kansas City has led in 12 of its 16 games. The starters, for the most part, have been acceptable. It’s emotionally crippling for a team to waste a great outing by its starter, most recently six innings of two-hit shutout ball by Danny Duffy, as the rotation probably is feeling now that it has to pitch a shutout or the Royals lose. All three of KC’s wins this year have been blankings and the team hasn’t won since the 10-0 rout of Seattle way back on April 9.

It’s not entirely fair to put all the blame on the pitching. The Royals are hitting just .237 as a team, though the cold weather they have played in has to be taken into consideration, but it’s been the same for everybody. Also, there’s a paucity of home runs as the Royals have struck just 11 so far, most of them from Mike Moustakas and Lucas Duda.

Give Moustakas credit for being a true gamer. Despite this rubble of a season so far, he’s hitting .348 and has four homers and 13 RBIs. He’s not letting the fact he didn’t receive a big free-agent contract deter him, he’s going out and proving he should get one next year.

If there is a scapegoat for the Royals’ start, it’s GM Dayton Moore. He’s the one who assembled this team and made the decisions to let the veterans go in the bullpen. And don’t forget, there’s been no Salvador Perez, out with a freak knee injury. I guarantee with Salvy the Royals would have at least three or four more wins as he’s a positive influence on the pitchers and a big bat in the middle of the lineup.