The post season news conference is an annual rite at The K. It's a time to shuffle some deck chairs, take stock of the year gone by and to start priming the pump for the following year.
The Royals will hold such a press conference on Tuesday at 11AM. This one has the opportunity to be a bit more interesting than year's past as Ned Yost's contract expired at the end of this year and Dayton Moore has a single year remaining on his. The two are tied together and there has been plenty of speculation as to their futures.
Before we look ahead to Tuesday's presser, here's a look at a couple notable post season recaps from the last few of years.
Last year, Dayton Moore and Ned Yost announced the dismissal of hitting coach Kevin Seitzer and emphasized a new power approach at the plate.
In 2011, the Royals announced that pitching coach Bob McClure and bench coach John Gibbons would not be returning. The problem - identified by Yost - was Royals pitchers were throwing too many balls and locating too high in the strike zone.
In the 2010 press conference, no coaching changes were announced as Yost announced on the final Sunday of the season that his staff would return for 2011.
For the upcoming 2013 press conference, there's no shortage of speculation. Since there weren't any announcements ahead of time about the staff, it wouldn't be surprising to see a change or two, but that seems unlikely. Of course, since Yost isn't under contract, he can't exactly go on the record on the season's final day and announce coaching changes or a status quo of the staff. Besides, I don't see them moving away from Dave Eiland or Chino Cahadia. Rusty Kuntz has been a key guy for Moore. Pedro Grifol seems to have the organization's faith as well.
So this presser will be all about Yost.
Personally, I think Yost is returning. I've been kicking this around in my mind for the last couple of months. It wouldn't make sense for him to walk away voluntarily. Not after his Milwaukee experience, which has to continue to sting. He has to feel this team is on a positive track and no man would invest three years only to walk away when it appears they are on the cusp of contention. (We can debate this later. You and I both know that Yost and Moore are going to sell the 2014 team as contenders based on their increase in win total in 2013. And they will believe it to be true.)
Another idea is that Moore and Yost will reach a "mutual" agreement where the manager will step down and move into a front office role. Again, I just don't see that as likely. My impression of Moore is he is incredibly loyal to the people who work for him - especially if they can point to progress. And again, 86 wins will be sold as progress. I would have bought this scenario if the team had hit my projected win total of 78. But finishing over .500 and staying on the fringes of contention until the final week of the year, has me thinking this is unlikely.
That brings me to a rumor I've heard rumbling (and one that's been mentioned in the comments section here from time to time) is that Jason Kendall is waiting in the wings to take over the managerial reigns. Rewind yourself.
Now there's no doubt the important people in the organization love themselves some Kendall. Yet I just can't buy the idea that with the "progress" made in 2013, the Royals brain trust would turn the keys over to someone as unproven as Kendall. I could be completely wrong here, but I just don't see it happening. Maybe Kendall joins the team as a bench coach and Cadahia moves somewhere else in the organization. Again, I just don't see it.
So that leaves a final option and that's an announcement that Yost has agreed to a new contract. Which I think is going to happen.
Now, speculation about the terms. Does Yost get one year? That makes some sense considering Moore is in the final year of his own contract. Or does Yost sign a one year deal with a club option for a second? That gives the club a hedge where if Moore isn't retained beyond 2014, they can cut ties with Yost at the end of the year to let their new GM bring in his own guy. Or does Yost get two years? Again, with Moore's current contract status, that doesn't seem likely to me.
Except everything could change if it is announced at this press conference that Moore has signed a new deal.
That wouldn't surprise me, either.
Again, an 86 win season and contention have bought Dayton Moore a bunch of goodwill among certain segments of the Royals Universe. When Moore signed his previous extension, it was when the Royals were in one of their annual death spirals. This would be... different.