Ned Yost is already the Grand Old Man of the AL Central, and the Royals guaranteed that he'll be around for at least two more years, as they agreed to a one-year extension that will take him through the 2016 season.
The extension was inevitable -- take a team to the seventh game of the World Series and reap the rewards -- but it seemed like it could've/should've been at least a year longer. According to Yost, who is 60, he'll be happy to tackle his future two years from now:
"Dayton’s got this year and next year, and that’s all I wanted," Yost told The Star in a telephone conversation. He added, "One extra year, I’m happy with that. And we’ll just play it out, and see what happens after that."
There may be another reason why he's OK with seeing what 2017 looks like before committing to it:
#A1 deal end after 2016 Hosmer, Moose, Duffy, Cain, Esky last year of control is 2017. Weird how Yost may not want to manage after 2016...— Ben Nielsen (@BenThereBro) January 13, 2015
As far as the next two years, an extension used to be welcome news for the rest of the AL Central, thanks to an extreme orthodoxy (known as "Yosting") that seemed to put a governor on his players' talents. But he flipped a switch during the Royals' eight-game winning streak in October, foiling critics who scrutinized every decision in an effort to ridicule something. Assuming he brings some of that postseason swagger into 2015, he won't be somebody to kick around.
Even if he isn't able to repeat his success, he will own the Royals' longevity-based managerial records before his first year is through. He's 373-402 with Kansas City over five-plus seasons, which is good for first in games managed, second in losses (Tony Muser had 431) and third in wins (Whitey Herzog had 410).
In other AL Central news
*Alex Gordon is supposed to be ready for Opening Day after undergoing surgery on his right wrist, but Dayton Moore says he might not be able to handle a full spring workload beforehand.
*Miguel Cabrera's prognosis is less certain. He underwent a more significant surgery, as doctors removed bone spurs and repaired a stress fracture in his navicular bone, and Detroit's head trainer said he won't be ready for the start of spring training. As for Opening Day, he said a mid-February re-evaluation will provide a better answer than he can give right now.
*James Shields' market is starting to pick up, although unlike Max Scherzer, his previous employer isn't in the picture. New Arizona GM Dave Stewart says the Diamondbacks are dancing with him, and he continued his early-career habit of saying more than most:
Stewart said he believes Shields likes what the Diamondbacks are doing as an organization.
"I think James is a throwback guy by the way he goes about his business and the innings he pitches," Stewart said. "I think the fact that Tony (La Russa) is here and that we have more baseball people – he probably sees us as a true baseball team vs. some of the other teams out here that are geared more toward analytics and those type of things.
"Sometimes, there are concessions the player will make to be here. It's the case that he likes what we're doing with our organization from our end, all we can hope is that there will be concessions enough that he can be here."