Mike Matheny is generally expected to be the next manager of the Kansas City Royals. That would be a disaster.
For the first time in nearly a decade, the Kansas City Royals find themselves with a vacancy at the manager spot. Ned Yost has retired, leaving behind a mixed legacy, but an ultimately successful one. He has the most wins of any manager in team history, and has the highest postseason winning percentage of any major league manager to manage at least 20 postseason contests. Whoever takes on that role will have some big shoes to fill.
At this point, there is a perceived favorite when it comes to the vacancy. Mike Matheny appeared to be the manager in waiting when the Royals hired him at the end of November to a role in the front office. While other teams are reportedly interested in interviewing Matheny, the Royals job, in theory, remains his to claim.
In theory, he would seem to be the perfect fit for a rebuilding Royals team. Matheny is considered to have a calm, relaxed demeanor, one that would fit perfectly on a young ballclub. He would, potentially, be the perfect hire.
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The problem is that his track record in St. Louis tells a different story. He feuded with Dexter Fowler almost from the beginning, which began the snowball effect when Fowler began to struggle. Matheny also condoned the hazing of Jordan Hicks by veteran Bud Norris, even if he did not vocalize such approval.
This track record flies in the face of what the Royals have stood for in the past. With their handling of players like Zack Greinke, Danny Duffy, and Kyle Zimmer, just to name a few examples, they have displayed patience and understanding. The Royals clubhouse is a brotherhood, the franchise a family.
Matheny would be a step in the opposite direction. Yes, he may well have changed, especially after spending the past few months in the Kansas City front office. While there would be questions with any potential manager, playing a part in the creation of a toxic clubhouse atmosphere should be an immediate disqualification when it comes to the Royals managerial opening.
From all accounts, the Kansas City Royals managerial opening is Mike Matheny’s to lose. Bringing him into the clubhouse as the replacement for Ned Yost would be a mistake.