On Friday, the Kansas City Royals announced that they have hired Mike Matheny as a special adviser for player development. The former St. Louis Cardinals manager will assist in several aspects of the baseball operations department, including scouting and development. 

"I'm excited about the opportunity to join the Royals in this capacity," Matheny said. "I've long respected the accomplishments of Dayton and his staff while developing a winning culture in Kansas City. This is a great chance for me to contribute in a variety of areas that will include player development and scouting. After being in uniform for the majority of my professional career, this is a unique opportunity that I could not pass up."

The Cardinals fired Matheny in July with a 47-46 record. Matheny became the first MLB manager to be fired mid-season while holding a winning record since the Milwaukee Brewers fired Ned Yost in 2008. The Cardinals also fired their hitting coach and assistant hitting coach, and later named former bench coach Mike Shildt as Matheny's replacement. In seven seasons with the Cardinals, Matheny was 591-474, reached the playoffs four times, and won the 2013 pennant, falling to the Boston Red Sox in the World Series. But under Matheny, the Cards' winning percentage dropped each season after 2015 and when he was fired, they were on pace to miss the postseason for a third straight year (which eventually did happen) -- something that St. Louis had not done since 1997-99.

Matheny joins the Royals after seven years of managing in St. Louis and at 48, he still has plenty of years left in him to continue managing. Yost, the Royals' current manager, will turn 65 next August (he is the second-oldest manager in MLB behind Cubs skipper Joe Maddon), and he's only extended through 2019 as of right now. Could it be possible that the Royals are priming Matheny to be Yost's successor?

After the Royals and Yost agreed to the one-year deal for 2019, Yost said that he has a desire to return for at least another season, and at times hinted he may want to even go two more seasons.

"I think we're making progress," Yost told reporters. "I like the fact that the kids made the jump this season. We're not there yet. We got a ways to go. But I said all along I wanted to stay [as manager] until we get into a position to compete. We're getting closer. Everyone is excited where we're headed."

If the Royals want to speed up their rebuild to get back in contention sooner rather than later, the Matheny hire could mean that they're looking to use him and his experience to accelerate their timetable.