I had almost gotten to the point where I felt guilty about writing this. Almost. As the Kansas City Royals moved closer and closer to respectability, Ned Yost seemed to fiddle less and I began to think maybe the first two weeks of the season were just a hiccup. I became nervous again with his handling of the bullpen on Wednesday, and was pushed over the edge today when I saw his Friday night lineup against the Arizona Diamondbacks. It was then I realized Ned must go.
In fairness to Yost, I supposed I should start at the beginning, with expectations. I was one of the few people out there that actually thought this team could compete in 2012, so surely that explains why I’m so quick to fire Yost right? I mean if you expected 70 wins out of this club, are you really that disappointed with where they are? The thing is, Yost didn’t talk or act like a manager that expected a 70-win season, at least not until the games started…then he panicked.
In fairness to Yost, another theory has emerged to explain his managerial style. Many have speculated (with sarcasm) that Yost may think the Royals are a National league team. A more likely scenario in my mind is that Yost doesn’t think there is a difference between managing in the American or National leagues. There is, and Yost is proving it.
The other, more legitimate, excuse for the Royals poor performance is injury. While the Royals injuries have been well chronicled, I wonder how much they have really affected this club. Could you really expect Joakim Soria to have been better than Jonathan Broxton has been this year? What are the odds that Lorenzo Cain would have gotten on base at a .370 clip? Sure, Cain and Salvador Perez would have helped defensively, and Broxton could have been working his “heart attack” act as a relief man if Soria were here. Still, how much difference would they have made*? Would they have affected Yost’s use of the bullpen, his affection for the bunt, or his affinity for giving away free outs on the base paths?
*Don’t even mention the Danny Duffy injury in defense of Yost, Duffy’s injury hasn’t cost the Royals a game…yet.
If Dayton Moore doesn’t want to fire Ned Yost quite yet, he can at least ask him these questions:
- Why can’t Mike Moustakas hit higher than Jeff Francoeur in the order when Moose is clearly the better hitter in nearly every situation?
- What is the theory behind stacking middle infielders that are below average hitters at the top of the order?
- Chris Getz over Johnny Giavotella, why?
- Explain your philosophy on managing in the American league vs. the National League…
Maybe Yost has well thought out replies that I (and the rest of Kansas City) just haven’t thought of. Considering his results, I find it highly unlikely.
I am not saying that firing Ned Yost is going to save 2012, although I will mention that the Florida Marlins were 16-22 in 2003 when they fired Jeff Torberg and hired Jack McKeon. That Marlins team went 75-49 the rest of the way aided by the call up of the 20 year-old Miguel Cabrera (Wil Myers anyone?).
I think it’s far more important to consider the future. Yost has shown over the last two months that he doesn’t handle adversity very well. With the Milwaukee Brewers, he handled pressure so poorly that he was fired in the middle of a playoff race. One day in the not-to-distant future, the Royals and Yost will face the prospect of a division race again and we have no reason to believe he will handle it any better.