Remember the film Moneyball? In the movie, manager Art Howe presses Billy Beane for a contract extension, arguing he can’t manage on a one-year deal.
“And a 1-year contract says the same thing to a manager as it does to a player: There’s not a lot of faith there.”
It turns out that part of the movie wasn’t true, but the sentiment that a manager in the last year of his contract is a “lame duck” is widely accepted around baseball.
So the Royals avoided that situation today by exercising the club option on manager Mike Matheny for the 2023 season. Matheny has managed the last two seasons for the Royals, improving the team winning percentage each year. He has won 100 games with 122 losses for a .450 winning percentage. The team won 74 games last year, their most since the championship core of the team departed in 2017.
Matheny previously managed the St. Louis Cardinals for seven seasons, winning 591 games with 474 losses and guiding the team to the 2013 National League pennant. He has changed his approach since his dismissal from the Cardinals in 2018, espousing analytics and embracing more flexible bullpen roles. But he also hasn’t had much expectations to win games yet as the team is still developing young players and building toward the future. With the young pitchers at the big league level, and top hitting prospects expected to make their big league debuts this year, the expectations should rise.
What do you think of manager Mike Matheny?