Inbox: How will Royals handle manager search?

Beat reporter Jeffrey Flanagan answers questions from fans

October 7th, 2019

KANSAS CITY -- OK, so everyone has had a week to sit back, take deep breaths and put the Royals’ 2019 regular season in their rear-view mirror. Now comes the task of decision-making for the Royals’ front office in what should be a busy offseason.

Next month at the Owners Meetings in Texas, John Sherman is expected to be approved to be the next owner of the Royals. But before that, Kansas City has a vital decision to make -- naming its manager who will replace Ned Yost.

With that backdrop, let’s get to your questions:

Absolutely they will be on the same page. Dayton Moore has been in contact with Sherman for months, discussing such matters as the manager search, budgets, etc. As Moore has said frequently, “The train doesn’t stop” just because of the ownership transition. But the managerial search likely will be deliberate, with Moore and his staff doing due diligence on all potential candidates, which include Mike Matheny, Pedro Grifol, Vance Wilson and Dale Sveum, along with potential external ones. There have been no formal interviews conducted yet -- there will be in the weeks to come.

While there continue to be strong signals from within the organization that Matheny is the direction the Royals want to go, it is not a slam dunk for several reasons. For one thing, I’m hearing there already has been considerable interest in Matheny from other organizations with managerial openings. The Royals also are aware of the blowback (much like there were about Yost in Milwaukee) about Matheny originating from the other side of the state and the subsequent fan responses on social media. Ultimately, though, Moore and Sherman will decide what’s best for the organization and its continuing rebuild, regardless of external noise.

Meanwhile, Matheny has kept a low profile over the past year since being hired as a special assistant to Moore. Word has it that Matheny has been working on getting his Master’s degree (business management) while also learning about the Royals’ organization from the inside, particularly its connection to analytics -- which is interesting, considering some of the criticism about him. Moore has indicated he does not have a set timeline for making a decision on the next manager, so be patient.

The negotiations between the Royals and FOX Sports Kansas City continue but in a bit of a holding pattern. It is believed the Royals presented FSKC with a counter offer recently and are waiting to hear back. I reported a few months back that the Royals are hoping for a new deal that would be in the $48 million-$52 million per year range.

The Royals are very high on first baseman/outfielder Ryan McBroom and he definitely will compete for a spot on the active roster next spring. McBroom, acquired from the Yankees in September, impressed Yost with his bat, hitting .293 in 23 games with five doubles. I wouldn’t be surprised, especially with the expansion to a 26-man roster, if McBroom is a factor next season, possibly in a platoon with Ryan O’Hearn at first base.

Not likely this year, because the Royals aren’t that close to contending. James Shields was brought in before the 2013 season when the Royals were ready to take that next step. More likely, a veteran like Shields could be brought in next offseason. That would make more sense.

I think the organizational goal has always been to get close to contending by 2021. But it was interesting in Yost’s farewell press conference that he talked about that timeline being closer to ‘23, and that he just didn’t want to wait around that long as manager. Maybe a happy medium is ‘22.

I don’t think they trade , or in the near future. It’s more likely they offer Soler an extension this winter as he can opt out of his contract for arbitration. Merrifield’s versatility and presence in the clubhouse are valuable commodities in this rebuild, and I don’t see the Royals moving Duffy until the next wave of young pitching prospects gets close.

Meanwhile, the fan bases for Oakland and Tampa Bay are going, “Why can’t we just win a World Series like a small market like Kansas City did in 2015?”

I expect a spirited competition between and next spring for the backup job to . It’s possible that some of the pitching prospects get elevated to the big leagues straight from Double-A Northwest Arkansas so it’s not like Viloria has to be at Triple-A to become familiar with them.

My best guess is that yes, Sherman will be very visible there.