The Manager’s Perspective: Ned Yost on Managerial Turnover

Ned Yost took over as the manager of the Kansas City Royals on May 13, 2010. The fact that he still holds the position puts him in select company. Of the 30 current MLB managers, only five were skippering their current club at the start of the 2011 season, and only Mike Scioscia (1999) and Bruce Bochy (2006) can boast a longer tenure than can Yost.

Managerial turnover has been especially prevalent in recent years. A full third of the 30 weren’t in their current role at the start of last season, and half weren’t there on Opening Day 2016. This season alone has seen seven new faces at the helm.

In the first installment of a series — we’ll hear from a different manager each week, generally focusing on a specific subject — Yost shares his opinion on the recent influx of managerial turnover.


Ned Yost: “Oh man, you know… I think there are a lot of reasons for it. One, you have to have a great relationship with your owner and your GM. I think that helps. We have a phenomenal relationship in Kansas City with Mr. Glass and with Dayton [Moore]. There probably could have been three or four times where Dayton could have fired me. But I think Dayton understands that’s not going to solve a problem. And a lot of times it can make the problem worse.

“I got fired in Milwaukee in [September] 2008. At that point we were [16] games over .500. In 2009, they were under .500 with a different manager. I’m not saying… it’s just different. It tends to disrupt the flow that goes on.

“Sometimes it’s fan-driven. The fans just can’t take it anymore, even though it doesn’t really… there’s no difference in the way that I manage right now than in 2015 when we won the World Championship. We just had players who were performing better. A lot of it, I think, is just getting a different face in there and a different voice.

“The ability to stay calm in crisis situations, and when things get really, really rough, helps players get through it. If you get emotional and scream and yell, get demanding — I think that’s a recipe for a short tenure as a manager. But yeah, I think a different voice helps at times.

“There are a lot of things that I don’t understand when certain managers get fired. Like, how are you going to do better than that guy? It happens. Here in Boston… I was always a big John Farrell fan. I thought John did a great job. When they fired him, I’m like, ‘Geez, why?’ You don’t really know the ins and outs, but I thought he was a really good manager, and to this day I still do. OK, a new manager and a different voice, how’s it going to… well, it’s turned out pretty darn good for them so far. So yeah, a different voice, a different course of action, a different way of doing things.

“It can happen [where a manager’s message begins to get lost on the players]. I don’t think I’ve been concerned that that’s the case here, but no doubt. The message can be lost. The confidence can be lost. There are a lot of things that can happen. Can you turn that around [without a managerial change]? You can, but it takes a lot longer than you think. It takes a long time once that starts to set in.

“I think it would be harder to get hired now at my age. It’s a different generation. I mean, I’ve had to adapt and learn a lot of different ways to handle a lot of different situations. But I’ve been open-minded. [I’m going to say,] ‘OK, what do we need to do to be successful here? What do I need to do to adapt? What do they need to do to adapt to me?’ It’s kind of been a give and take.

“I’ve changed my mindset in a lot of different things, because it is a different generation. It’s more of a younger man’s game. They think differently than they did when I played. We treat them differently now than they treated us when I played. If you got to the big leagues and you weren’t ready to play, or if you made a mistake, you got your ass chewed out. And if you did it again, you got your ass sent down.

“That doesn’t happen anymore. We don’t do that, the chewing out stuff. You do it, but you do it in a different fashion. You don’t do it by yelling and screaming. Trust me, that doesn’t work anymore. If I’ve got to raise my voice, I do it in a way where I don’t raise my voice. But they know what I’m talking about; they know that I’m serious. I’ve found ways to continue to get my point across without raising my voice. It’s a different group. It’s a different time.”

David Laurila grew up in Michigan's Upper Peninsula and now writes about baseball from his home in Cambridge, Mass. He authored the Prospectus Q&A series at Baseball Prospectus from December 2006-May 2011 before being claimed off waivers by FanGraphs. He can be followed on Twitter @DavidLaurilaQA.

Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
5 years ago

Ask him why he batted Alcides Escobar leadoff all those years