When then-Royals skipper Ned Yost announced in September that he would retire at season's end, former St. Louis Cardinals manager Mike Matheny became the obvious favorite to take over the reins in Kansas City. Matheny had, after all, spent all year in the organization, presumably becoming familiar with the players, people, and processes employed within.
Hearing that the @Royals managerial search is down to a very short list that includes Mike Matheny and Pedro Grifol. Cannot go wrong with either choice. Top-flight baseball people.— Pedro Gomez (@pedrogomezESPN) October 2, 2019
Sure enough, the Royals seem content to promote from within to fill the position -- be it Matheny, quality control/catching coach Pedro Grifol, or bench coach Dale Sveum. Whomever wins out -- and Matheny is reportedly still the favorite -- it could take a while to be announced:
Mike Matheny is favorite for Royals managing job. KC is said to love its internal candidates, including also Pedro Grifol/Dale Sveum. But people outside the org are convinced Matheny has the inside track. One complication: an in-flux ownership situation could delay things.— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) October 3, 2019
The hold-up -- if there is one -- is likely to be caused by the Royals' ownership transition, from David Glass to John Sherman. Said transfer may not occur until November. General manager Dayton Moore has already indicated the managerial search may linger until Sherman has a chance to weigh in and/or sign off on the process. "I would never hire a manager ... without complete 100 percent support of my boss," Moore said, according to ESPN.
Obviously it's possible that the Royals find a workaround, but then what's the rush? If all the serious candidates are internal and under contract, then the only risk is if another team comes calling and offering a promotion to one of the individuals under consideration. Otherwise, the Royals can proceed at their own pace.
The Royals are just one of several teams who will have new skippers in place when they take the field next spring. The Chicago Cubs, Pittsburgh Pirates, San Francisco Giants, New York Mets, and San Diego Padres also have openings. The Philadelphia Phillies could as well -- they're expected to make a decision on Gabe Kapler's fate sometime within the next week. You can follow our manager tracker for all the latest news and notes on those openings and potential others.