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.
Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports that the Cubs have signed pitcher Brett Anderson to a contract, pending a physical. Anderson, apparently, impressed the Cubs during a bullpen session held in Arizona recently. According to Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports, the deal is for $3.5 million, but incentives can bring the total value up to $10 million.
Anderson, 28, has only made a total of 53 starts and 12 relief appearances over the past five seasons due to a litany of injuries. This past season, he made just three starts and one relief appearance, yielding 15 runs on 25 hits and four walks with five strikeouts in 11 1/3 innings. The lefty dealt with back, wrist, and blister issues throughout the year.
When he’s healthy, Anderson is a solid arm to have at the back of a starting rotation or in the bullpen. The defending world champion Cubs aren’t risking much in bringing him on board.
Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports provides an interesting window into how teams handle a player’s contract after he has died in an accident. It was reported on Sunday that Royals pitcher Yordano Ventura died in a car accident in the Dominican Republic. He had three guaranteed years at a combined $19.25 million as well as two $12 million club options with a $1 million buyout each for the 2020-21 seasons.
What happens to that money? Well, that depends on the results of a toxicology report, Rosenthal explains. If it is revealed that Ventura was driving under the influence, payment to his estate can be nullified. The Royals may still choose to pay his estate some money as a gesture of good will, but they would be under no obligation to do so. However, if Ventura’s death was accidental and not caused by his driving under the influence, then his contract remains fully guaranteed and the Royals would have to pay it towards his estate. The Royals would be reimbursed by insurance for an as yet unknown portion of that contract.
The results of the toxicology report won’t be known for another three weeks, according to Royals GM Dayton Moore. Dominican Republic authorities said that there was no alcohol found at the scene.
Ventura’s situation is different than that of Marlins pitcher Jose Fernandez, who died in a boating accident this past September. Fernandez was not under contract beyond 2016. He was also legally drunk and cocaine was found in his system after the accident. Still, it is unclear whether or not Fernandez was driving the boat. As a result, his estate will receive an accidental death payment of $1.05 million as well as $450,000 through the players’ standard benefits package, Rosenthal points out.