Ned Yost will be the Brewers manager for at least one more year, as Doug Melvin chose to pick up his option for 2006.
I'm a little more positive than ambivalent about this, though I have long realized that Yost would have a long, long leash as long as the team didn't make a major nosedive. Yost has two major advantages in how he is perceived by, well, everybody:
- He's managing a very well-run franchise (I think that's more Melvin's doing than Yost's) that has a lot of young players on the rise. Much of the Brewers success, this year and beyond, will be due to good players getting better, not super-duper-manager-mojo.
- He's considered a good people-manager, much in the vein of Bobby Cox, under whom he coached for the Braves. Much is made of his great friendship with Cox, and no one has more richly-deserved super-duper-manager-mojo than Cox.
Yost is not a great tactical manager, relying too heavily on weak pitchers in crucial situations and depending far too much on a running/bunting game with a team that really can't do much with it. On the other hand, he's been extremely flexible with some promising players, like relievers Dan Kolb and Mike Adams this year, and Derrick Turnbow this year. Were I a hustling young player with some promise, there's no manager I'd rather play for (except maybe Cox). Unlike managers such as Dusty Baker and Felipe Alou who stick with their veterans until they get their AARP cards, Yost has shown a willingness to give a fair shot to marginal players--old and young--that has often paid off for the Crew.
Now that I've proven just how ambivalent I am about Yost, I will say I can't think of any free-agent managers out there I'd rather see in the Brewers dugout. On the other hand, if Jim Tracy doesn't return to the Dodgers next year, I may update that point of view.
What do you think? Will these be the Ned Yost dynasty years? Should they? Oh, and...vote in my poll!