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Saturday, February 25, 2006

Brewers Extent Yost's Contract

From Adam McCalvy at MLB.com:

The Brewers rewarded manager Ned Yost on Saturday with a contract extension that could keep him in Milwaukee through 2009.

Yost, 51, a former Brewers backup catcher who is entering his fourth season as manager and the final season of his current contract, got a two-year deal through 2008. The team holds an option for 2009.

"Everybody is very, very excited for Ned," said outfielder Geoff Jenkins, who has played for five different Brewers managers. "Nobody deserves it more than him. Nobody works harder and wants more for this organization than Ned."

The Brewers originally hired Yost on Oct. 29, 2002, after general manager Doug Melvin and assistant general manager Gord Ash took over in a major organizational shake-up. They inherited a franchise coming off its worst season, a 106-loss debacle that featured a managerial firing, clubhouse infighting and fan disgust.

The Brewers went 68-94 in Yost's first season and 67-94 in his second, but improved to 81-81 in 2005, snapping a 12-year losing streak. Attendance has risen in each season and will improve again in 2006 if Saturday's record-setting sales are any indication.

"The first time, I just signed whatever they threw at me," said Yost, who handled his own negotiations. "I just wanted an opportunity to prove myself. I had a pretty good idea that I felt like I could do it, but I wanted to prove it to myself and to everybody else."

The Brewers picked up Yost's 2006 option in August, and talks on an extension began in December, when Yost was in Milwaukee to unveil the team's retro Sunday uniforms. Melvin, who got a three-year extension during the offseason, made a first offer in early February and the deal was finalized Saturday morning, when Yost agreed to the 2009 club option.

Players were informed a few hours later, just before Yost delivered his annual address in the first full-squad meeting.

"We still have a young team, but it's really good for them to hear at the beginning of the year that the baseball management is set," said Brewers owner Mark Attanasio, who flew in Saturday and also addressed the team. "If you look at well-run companies on Wall Street, they don't have a lot of changes. And if you look at well-run baseball teams like the Atlanta Braves, they don't either."


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