Royals fire Mike Matheny after 3 seasons

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The Kansas City Royals fired manager Mike Matheny on Wednesday as he completed his third season with the organization.

The Royals dropped the final game of the season to the American League Central division-champion Cleveland Guardians 9-2. The team also fired pitching coach Cal Eldred.

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Kansas City had initially exercised Matheny’s option for the 2023 season hoping it would have ended up better than 65 wins during the regular season.

“We are grateful to Mike for leading us through some unusual times these last three seasons,” Royals vice president/general manager J.J. Picollo said in a news release. “He met those challenges head on and helped us move forward in a positive manner. We thank him for his leadership and know his influence will have a positive impact moving forward.”

Matheny joined the Royals’ dugout ahead of the 2020 season but did not get to manage the team until the middle of the summer due to the coronavirus pandemic. Even with the expanded playoffs at the time, Kansas City failed to get to the postseason as they put together a 26-34 record.

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The Royals won 74 games in 2021, marking the highest total during his tenure. He finished 165-219 overall.

“Managing the Royals has been a true privilege,” Matheny said. “I’m thankful to so many, primarily Dayton Moore, and the coaches and players I’ve worked with. I would like to thank Mr. John Sherman and the ownership group for the opportunity to manage their team, and everyone involved in this great organization. I came to the Royals knowing it was an organization of excellence and care, and was shown that care every single day. Royals fans should be excited about this group of players, and I look forward to watching them continue to grow.”

Matheny, a former catcher, managed the St. Louis Cardinals from 2012 to 2018. He managed the Cardinals to a World Series appearance in 2013.

He was the fifth MLB manager to be fired this year.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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