Royals exercise 2013 option on manager Ned Yost

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Last year we saw what can happen when a veteran manager of a young, suddenly decent team has a contract that expires at the end of the season, but the Royals have ensured they won’t have a Jim Riggleman situation by exercising their 2013 option on Ned Yost before spring training even begins.

Yost, who took over for Trey Hillman 35 games into the 2010 season, has managed the Royals to a 126-163 (.436) record after compiling a 457-502 (.477) record in six seasons with the Brewers.

By comparison, Hillman had a nearly identical .423 winning percentage in Kansas City and the man who replaced Yost in Milwaukee (on a full-time basis), Ken Macha, has a .485 winning percentage there.

While the Royals have finished above .500 just once since 1995 and last did so in 2003 they’re well positioned to become contenders in the AL Central as all their young talent fills the roster. That began to happen in a big way last season, will continue to happen this year, and puts Yost in a spot to receive tons of credit when they finally start winning some games. For now, though, he’s managed eight seasons in the majors with a combined .467 winning percentage and has never won more than 83 games.

Yasiel Puig was late to a workout on Monday, so Dave Roberts benched him

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Earlier, Craig wrote about how Dodgers outfielder Yasiel Puig is back in manager Dave Roberts’ doghouse once again. Puig didn’t slide into second base when he was caught stealing to end Saturday’s game, which irked Roberts.

Puig didn’t earn himself any brownie points on Monday as he was late to a team workout and was benched as a result, MLB.com’s Ken Gurnick reports. Roberts said, “That was a decision he made, not me.” Roberts added that he was disappointed in Puig, though he did note that the former All-Star’s behavior has been improved for most of the season.

Puig, 26, has had a solid season, batting .259/.339/.474 with 26 home runs, 70 RBI, 66 runs scored, and 15 stolen bases in 554 plate appearances. While he hasn’t provided value on the same level as Justin Turner or Corey Seager, he’s been a valuable part of the lineup which makes this drama all the more unfortunate with just a week and a half before the start of the NLDS.

MLB, MLBPA grant Pirates exemption for Jung Ho Kang to participate in Dominican Winter League

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Bill Brink of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports that the Pirates were granted an exemption by Major League Baseball and the players’ union which will allow infielder Jung Ho Kang to participate in the Dominican Winter League without being removed from the restricted list.

Kang, 30, has been denied a visa by the Department of State as a result of his third DUI in South Korea last September. Kang was also under investigation in 2015 for alleged sexual assault.

Kang is under contract through the end of 2018 and the Pirates have a club option for the 2019 season as well, so it makes sense they would try to get him into some type of baseball action ahead of next season. The infielder has hit .273/.355/.483 in 837 plate appearances across two seasons in the majors. As Brink notes, Kang has already arrived to the Dominican Republic and will work out with his team, Aguilas Cibaenas, ahead of the start of the season on October 20.