The first big domino of the Pittsburgh Pirates off-season fell as the team will have a new manager for the 2020 season.
The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal was first to report that the Pirates have decided to fire manager Clint Hurdle. This comes days after Hurdle told Stephen Nesbitt that he was told that he’d been told that he would return next season.
Following the report from Rosenthal, the Pirates confirmed the story and issued a statement from owner Bob Nutting.
“I have a great deal of appreciation for everything Clint has done for the Pittsburgh Pirates and our community. Clint is not only a great baseball man, he is a great family man. His leadership, inspiration, advice and friendship has helped make me a better person, as he has for so many others. It has been an honor to work with him for the past nine seasons.”
“While we felt it was time to make a change at the managerial level, I strongly believe that Neal Huntington and the leadership team that he has assembled are the right people to continue to lead our baseball operations department.”
“This has easily been the most difficult season of my tenure. Today we announced that we are parting ways with Clint, but make no mistake about it, this is by no means a statement that our shortcomings are solely Clint’s fault. The entire organization is accountable and that begins with me.
“Neal and his leadership team are will into an extensive review of every element of our baseball operations. In addition, we need to improve in the ways we connect with our fans.
“It is very clear that we need and will be better. There is no quick fix, but we are absolutely committed to the task. I believe we can and will achieve it.”
Following Nutting’s statement, this is what GM Neal Huntington said about the decision to fire Hurdle.
“Words cannot express how much respect and appreciation I have for Clint as a person and a leader. He was the right person at the right time to take on the enormous challenge of leading our Major League team out of an extended losing streak and piloting us to three straight Postseason appearances. We will be forever grateful for his dedication to the Pirates organization on and off the field. This was an extremely difficult decision for us. As an organization, we believe it was time for a managerial change to introduce a new voice and new leadership inside the clubhouse,” said Huntington.
The 62-year old Hurdle posted a record of 735-720 record in nine seasons as Pirates manager which is fourth all-time in wins behind Fred Clarke (1,422 wins), Danny Murtaugh (1,115 wins) and Jim Leyland (851 wins).
Bench coach Tom Prince will manage the team in the teams final game of the season.
Hurdle was let go with two years left on his contract and is still owed $6 million.
Report: Phil Nevin A Candidate For the Pirates Job
A new name is being mentioned as a candidate to be the next manager of the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Bob Nightengale of USA Today and MLB Network Insider reports that Phil Nevin is “certainly a strong candidate for the Pirates opening.”
Nevin, 48, is the current third base coach for the NY Yankees and was the #1 overball pick in the 1992 MLB Draft of the Houston Astros. The 12-year veteran also spent time with the Detroit Tigers, Anaheim Angels, San Diego Padres, Chicago Cubs and the Minnesota Twins.
Following his playing career, Nevin went into broadcasting (San Diego Padres and ESPN) and then got into coaching. He started off managing the unaffiliated Orange County Flyers for a season. He then managed the Class AA Erie Seawolves and the Class AAA Toledo Mud Hens. Following his stint in the Detroit Tigers organization, Nevin went to the Reno Aces in the Arizona Diamondbacks organization until 2017 when he was hired as the third base coach for the San Francisco Giants.
During the course of his coaching career, Nevin interviewed for managerial openings with the Houston Astros and the Arizona Diamondbacks, where he was a finalist.
Pitching Coach Ray Searage and Bench Coach Tom Prince Won’t Return In 2020
Long-time Pirates pitching coach Ray Searage won’t return to the organization in 2020.
Today, the team released a statement saying that both Searage and bench coach Tom Prince wouldn’t be returning to their respective positions. No decision has been made regarding the other Pirate assistants and their fate could be in the hands of the Pirates new manager.
Searage has been in the Pirates organization in some capacity for the last 17 years while Prince was with the team as a player for seven seasons and as a coach for the past 14 seasons.
Just a few years ago, Searage was considered one of the top pitching coaches in major league baseball but that opinion has changed drastically as the team has struggled to develop many of their younger pitching prospects. Case in point are right-handers Tyler Glasnow and Gerrit Cole who have both thrived since leaving the Pirates organization. In fact, it was announced today that Glasnow will start Game 1 for Tampa Bay in their upcoming series vs. the New York Yankees.
Current Betting Odds For Pirates Next Manager
The search for the next manager of the Pittsburgh Pirates is officially underway following the firing of longtime manager Clint Hurdle.
Will Bob Nutting and Neal Huntington target someone with experience? Will it be a fresh face? Will it be someone with ties to Huntington? Those are the questions that Pirate fans are asking?
This morning, speculation and possible targets are being mentioned by members of the media and the betting world in Las Vegas.
The first name thrown out there was by Jon Morosi from the MLB Network who mentioned current Minnesota Twins bench coach Derek Shelton, who was a finalist last year for the Texas Rangers managerial opening. Shelton, 49 years old, was also the hitting coach with Cleveland (2005-2009) and with Tampa Bay (2010-16). Shelton also managed minor league teams with the NY Yankees from 2000-2002.
More names were mentioned when the betting website, Betonline.ag, released the names of 8 people and while some look credible, others look like a fantasy. With that in mind, here are the names and the odds that they’re receiving to succeed Hurdle.
Raul Ibanez 5/2
Carlos Beltran 3/1
Joe Espada 7/2
Bob Geren 5/1
Joe Maddon 5/1
Eric Chavez 15/2
Joe Girardi 15/2
Josh Bard 10/1
Ibanez, a 19-year MLB veteran, is now serving as the special advisor to the Los Angeles Dodgers. He’s also being mentioned as a candidate for the next manager of the Chicago Cubs.
Beltran, also a 19-year MLB veteran, is currently serving as a special adviser to NY Yankees GM Brian Cashman. Following the 2017 season, Beltran interviewed for the Yankees managerial job, which eventually went to Aaron Boone.
Espada, 44, is the current bench coach for the Houston Astros. Prior to that, Espada was the third base coach for the NY Yankees as well as with the Florida Marlins. He also has experience managing teams in Puerto Rico during winter baseball as well as coaching the Puerto Rican team in the 2017 World Baseball Classic. Last offseason, Espada was one of the hottest names on the market as he interviewed for the openings with the Twins, Angels, Rangers and the Blue Jays.
Geren, 58, is the current bench coach of the Los Angeles Dodgers. He served as the manager of the Oakland A’s from 2007 until 2011 where he compiled a career record of 334-376 (.470). Geren is already being mentioned for the opening in San Francisco.
Chavez, 41, is a 15-year MLB veteran and is currently a special assistant with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. ESPN.com lists Chavez as a candidate to replace Bruce Bochy in San Francisco.