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Ex-Cardinal Mike Matheny Is the Betting Favorite to Be the Royals’ Next Manager

Chris Amberley

by Chris Amberley in MLB Baseball

Oct 1, 2019 · 3:22 PM PDT

Mike Matheny during an interview
Will Mike Matheny will be the next manager of the Kansas City Royals? Photo by Arturo Pardavila (Wiki Commons).
  • Mike Matheny has the shortest odds to become the Royals next manager, followed by Raul Ibanez
  • Matheny has been working in KC’s organization as a special advisor in player development
  • Is he a good bet at his price, or does someone else present better value?

Mike Matheny has plenty of experience managing in the state of Missouri and could find himself in charge of a young Kansas City Royals team next season.

The former St. Louis Cardinals manager is the front-runner to be the next Royals manager, ahead of former fan favorite Raul Ibanez.

Odds to be Kansas City Royals Next Manager

Candidate Odds
Mike Matheny +200
Raul Ibanez +300
Carlos Beltran +400
Pedro Grifol +600
Dale Sveum +700
Bob Geren +800
Tony Pena Jr. +900
Joe Maddon +1200
Joe Girardi +1200

Odds taken on 10/01/19.

Matheny has been working as a special advisor in player development for KC for nearly a year, after being fired from the Cardinals last July. His familiarity with the organization and his proven track record make him a quality candidate, but is he really a deserving favorite?

The Argument for Hiring Matheny

During his six-plus seasons as Cardinals manager, Matheny won a lot of baseball games. His teams never finished below .500, even in the year he was fired, and he led the Cards to three division titles and the 2013 pennant.

He ended his tenure in St. Louis with a .550 winning percentage (31st all-time) and was runner-up for NL Manager of the Year in 2015, after a 100-win season.

Current and former Cardinal greats like Yadier Molina and Albert Pujols credit Matheny for a large portion of their success, but not all of his former players feel so strongly.

The Case Against Matheny

Many of his strongest critics will argue that St. Louis succeeded in spite of him, rather than because of him. He inherited a very good Cardinals team that had just won the World Series, and this Royals squad is in the middle of a complete rebuild.

Various reports suggest that Matheny ignored players he didn’t like and placed too much trust in veterans, which stunted the growth of younger players. He never embraced analytics, choosing out-dated philosophies that were proven to be ineffective, and was easily manipulated by star players.

Kansas City’s roster doesn’t feature any MVP or Cy Young candidates and isn’t expected to contend any time soon. With numerous jobs opening up around the league, it will be interesting to see if Matheny chooses a team stuck in rebuild mode, or if he elects to pursue a squad with a clearer path to success.

Matheny is Most Likely KC’s Man

Although there’s plenty of reason to go in a different direction, too many people who cover the Royals on a daily basis believe Matheny’s hiring is imminent.

If you’d prefer to chase a bigger payday, consider Tony Pena Jr at +900 . The son of a former KC bench boss, he’s been managing in the Royals farm system and was elevated to the big league staff in early September to gain some valuable MLB coaching experience.

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