The Royals hired Mike Matheny as their 17th manager in franchise history Thursday.
Matheny, 49, a former major league manager with the St. Louis Cardinals, takes over for Ned Yost, who retired after the 2019 season.
“I truly see something very, very special about to happen here,” Matheny said after he put on a Royals jersey and cap during his introductory news conference at Kauffman Stadium, “and I want to be a part of it.”
General manager Dayton Moore brought Matheny onto his staff as an adviser for player development in November after he was fired by the Cardinals during the 2018 season.
Moore said he went into the process of selecting Yost’s replacement “with an open mind.” Matheny said he views taking the Royals manager job as “a privilege and a trust.”
“Our entire organization is delighted to announce and celebrate the hiring of Mike Matheny,” Moore said in a release announcing the move. “Every department has had the pleasure to work and interact with him this past season.
“Through this interaction, it became very clear to our leadership team that Mike is the obvious person to lead our baseball team. Mike Matheny is a passionate leader with strong virtues, intelligence, and a relentless commitment to help players reach their full potential.”
Moore said the relationship between David Glass, who is in the process of selling the franchise, and John Sherman, the Royals’ prospective owner “allowed our leadership team to move forward.”
“I’ve been well-informed by Dayton and the leadership team about the material activities underway with the club,” Sherman said, “and have been impressed with the thoughtful, strategic process Dayton has run to get to this important decision.”
Matheny, who played 13 seasons in the majors and won four Gold Gloves as a catcher, took over a team in St. Louis that won a World Series under Tony La Russa in 2011. From 2012 until his firing in 2018, Matheny’s teams went 591-474, won three division titles, made four consecutive playoff appearances and captured one National League pennant.
In his role as an adviser with the Royals, Matheny spent spring training with the major league and minor league staff in Arizona. He primarily with the lower levels of the Royals’ minor-league system.
He also helped out in amateur scouting — including spending a couple of days visiting with eventual No. 2 overall draft pick Bobby Witt Jr.