Royals’ Ned Yost braces for ‘step back’ as team tries to rebuild

The Royals are moving toward an uncertain future. Manager Ned Yost is trying to embrace the coming change.

Speaking Monday on the first floor of Kauffman Stadium, Yost reflected on the emotional end to the 2017 season, the possible departure of a championship core, and a reality that has come into focus over the last month. The Royals, in some form or fashion, are headed for another rebuilding phase.

“This is going to be different,” Yost said. “It’s a whole different approach again.”

As the offseason begins, the club is bracing for the possible defections of first baseman Eric Hosmer, third baseman Mike Moustakas, center fielder Lorenzo Cain and shortstop Alcides Escobar. All will be free agents following the World Series. Royals general manager Dayton Moore has said the team will be aggressive in trying to retain its homegrown talent. But Yost spent much of Monday hinting at the coming youth movement, a process that could include more playing time and bigger roles for shortstop Raul Mondesi, third baseman Cheslor Cuthbert and outfielders Jorge Bonifacio and Jorge Soler.

Two years after winning the World Series, the Royals could be headed for a significant step back on the field in 2018. Yost did not hide from this fact.

“I imagine it will probably be a little bit of a step back,” Yost said. “But again, it’s like everybody that goes to spring training. They all feel like they got a chance to win. They all do. But going through it, as many times as we’ve gone through it, I understand there’s going to be ups and downs next year.”

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