SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Mike Matheny will serve as the Royals manager through the 2023 season, the organization announced Thursday after exercising the club option on Matheny’s contract.
Matheny is entering his third season in Kansas City, and the Royals cemented their belief in him as the right manager to lead the team into its next phase of its rebuild, as the Royals hope to contend in the coming years.
“I couldn’t be happier,” Matheny said Thursday morning. “I told [president of baseball operations] Dayton [Moore] and [Royals owner John] Sherman just how grateful I am. No place I’d rather be than here, in the middle of something really special. It’s a special group of players, special organization. Everything is right on. Couldn’t be happier to be in a spot where they have confidence in me moving forward in this position.”
Matheny was named the 17th manager in franchise history on Oct. 31, 2019, after Ned Yost retired, and is 100-122 through his first two seasons with the Royals, steadily increasing the club’s win percentage in each of the last two seasons. The Royals went 74-88 (.457) in 2021, following a 26-34 (.433) shortened 2020 season. In the two seasons prior to Matheny’s arrival, the Royals went 58-104 (.358) and 59-103 (.364).
“Mike is one of the finest leaders I’ve been around and the Royals are fortunate to have him managing our team,” Moore said in a statement. “He is a tremendous competitor who cares deeply about players, the Kansas City community, and this great game of baseball. It is an absolute joy for our entire baseball operations department to work with him.”
In the second half of 2021, Matheny led the Royals to a 38-35 record after the All-Star break, which marked the best second-half record since 2015 (43-33) and was the largest increase in the American League last season.
Matheny guided the Royals through the pandemic-shortened season and then a season in which several young players made the transition from the Minors to the Major Leagues in 2021. That will continue to be the case in ’22, with many of those young pitchers and hitters viewed as the cornerstones of the Royals’ future.
“That’s the very first conversation we had in this clubhouse,” Matheny said. “It’s the expectation in our mind. It’s championships. That’s a plural. How do we continue to build on things that we’re watching? … You look around here and take an honest evaluation of where we are, this is all right in front of us, right now. It’s not building for some brighter future. It’s ‘Let’s go. It’s time. We’re here.’ They smell it. To be right in the middle of that, there’s no better place I’d want to be.”
Matheny enters the 2022 season with a 691-596 regular-season record (.537), which includes his seven years as the manager for the Cardinals (2012-18). His win total ranks ninth among active managers, and he has the same career winning percentage (.537) as Rays manager Kevin Cash and White Sox skipper Tony La Russa, a Hall of Famer.