Some have questioned Yost's tactics, but he did seem to rely less on small ball this year than in years past. While the Royals still stole a lot of bases (153, tops in the league), they did so at a very high rate (82.7%). The Royals were middle of the pack in the league in sacrifice hits, and at least seemed to be bunting less. Ned still had a fascination with putting crappy hitters like Chris Getz in the #2 hole, but he should be credited for sticking with Alex Gordon in the leadoff spot, and trying Eric Hosmer in the #2 hole to get his season on track.
Yost has also earned criticism in the past for his handling of the pitching staff, but the Royals staff led the league in runs allowed this year, with the bullpen putting together one of the best seasons in the league in recent memory. Yost deserves some credit for sticking with guys like Greg Holland and Kelvin Herrera through rough patches, and milking some use out of the previously worthless Luke Hochevar.
Ultimately, managers are judged by wins and losses, and Ned's 86-win season outperformed many expectations outsiders had of the Royals. It is no surprise at all the Royals extended him, and despite my misgivings about Ned and his tactics, the extension is probably well warranted. Ned seems to have good command and respect of his players, and has improved slightly as a tactician. He made some very questionable decsisions in the heat of the wild card race, re-igniting discussions that led him to be fired from the Brewers with two weeks to go before the post-season. However, with just a short two-year deal, Yost could be easily dismissed if the Royals struggle in 2014 or early in 2015.
And let's face it, it sure beats "Royals Manager Jason Kendall."