Yost set to return as Royals skipper in 2018

Yost set to return as Royals skipper in 2018

KANSAS CITY -- As the Royals face the prospect of losing several of their core players to free agency this offseason, there's one spot they won't need to replace: Their manager.

Royals manager Ned Yost, who has one year left on his contract after 2017, said he definitely plans on returning for '18.

"I'm under contract for next year," Yost said. "... I'm not walking away."

The Royals face the possibility of losing some of their biggest names -- Eric Hosmer, Mike Moustakas, Lorenzo Cain and Jason Vargas, etc. -- but the notion of at least doing a slight rebuild isn't discouraging, Yost said. Yost did rebuilds with the Brewers and with the Royals years ago.

"For me, I love this organization," Yost said. "And it's going to be easier for me to transition some of these younger players than anyone else.

"Am I going to see this thing through? No. But I want to get a firm footing and firm foundation on the ground so someone else ... in two years, whatever it is ...[can step in] and get back to where we feel we can compete again. Then, boom. It'll just be easier for me to transition the young guys."

Developing younger players, as Yost did with Alcides Escobar, Cain, Moustakas and Hosmer -- takes a special degree of patience as a manager. It also requires a manager able to handle being second-guessed repeatedly.

"When I don't pinch-hit for [Raul Mondesi] in the eighth inning because we're trying to develop him," Yost said, "it's going to be easier for me to take the flack than anyone else."

But Yost said he expects the Royals will still be competitive enough to be a playoff team in 2018 and beyond.

"Absolutely. We will be," Yost said. "But we'll still have the aspect of developing young players like Mondi, [Cheslor Cuthbert], [Jorge Soler], [Ramon Torres], [Jakob Junis], [Jorge Bonifacio]. And you still have quality veterans, too.

"I don't know what we'll do this winter, who we can sign back. Not going to worry about it right now."

Yost also said he has no problem with coming back in 2018 in the final year of his deal.

"If I didn't want to come back [in 2018], I wouldn't have negotiated the contract that way," Yost said. "I don't care. It's no issue to me. None. Zero. I'll gladly go year to year, and probably will go year to year. I don't know when [GM Dayton Moore] and I will even talk about it."

Jeffrey Flanagan has covered the Royals since 1991, and for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter @FlannyMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.