UPDATE to the below: Today the Pirates fired Clint Hurdle, which was what was always expected before that strange report late last week.
Pirates announce the Club and Clint Hurdle part ways. pic.twitter.com/TeUvUD3LK0
— Pirates (@Pirates) September 29, 2019
I don’t expect there’s a directly relationship here with the Joe Maddon news – like, I don’t think the Pirates were going to keep Hurdle and then changed their minds today – and I also don’t expect them to pony up the cash to get a manager like Maddon. But I suppose it’s possible, with the Pennsylvania connection, and the NL Central connection may make Maddon even more attractive to the Pirates.
Original post follows.
If you’d asked me to predict the five or so managers to get fired this offseason, Clint Hurdle would’ve been my guesses one through four. (The Mets’ Mickey Callaway would’ve taken slot five.)
Hurdle, 62, has led the Pirates since the 2011 season, mostly to mixed results, though that’s the product of the organization as a whole more than Hurdle, himself.
Then again, Hurdle has always been the kind of red ass whose leadership might wear thin eventually, or, as maybe it did this year, might contribute to a total breakdown in the clubhouse. This is a club that not only has gone an eye-popping 22-36 in the second half – including just FOUR wins in the month after the break – it is a club that has had MULTIPLE PHYSICAL altercations in the clubhouse among players and staff, and was hammered by MLB (finally) for its archaic headhunting ways.
It was EXTREMELY reasonable to assume Hurdle was finally out the door.
But I’m an idiot. I forgot to bake in the fact that the cheap Pirates would absolutely not want to eat the money remaining on Hurdle’s deal through 2021:
Exclusive: Clint Hurdle has been informed he’ll be back as #Pirates manager next season. I spoke with him about it before today's game. "I’d love to win a World Series ring before I no longer am in uniform. That hourglass has been flipped over. I’m 62.”https://t.co/tWZNGhNNkZ
— Stephen J. Nesbitt (@stephenjnesbitt) September 25, 2019
Unbelievable. But whatever. As much as Hurdle’s antics and philosophical ways bother me, he pretty clearly isn’t a singular force behind the Pirates being competitive, so … it’s fine for the Cubs, I guess.
As for the manager market, it’s a spot that will not be opening up this year (though I tend to doubt the Cubs (if there’s an opening) would have been competing with the Pirates on a managerial candidate, and I also tend to doubt Joe Maddon (if he leaves) would head to the Pirates.