Clint Hurdle is now the manager of the Pittsburgh Pirates. In a Q&A with Pirates fans today he described himself as confident, efficient, and specific. As Pirates fans we all have our opinions on how to improve this club most of which are very specific.
We put some thought into the serious work Hurdle is facing. Well, not a lot of thought, more like some ideas that seem on the front burner:
1. Ride the honeymoon. Hurdle shouldn’t be easily impressed with anything management says. He should make them follow it up especially when it comes to engendering trust with the Pirates on the roster. The ability to reach out to each of his players will be an interesting and time consuming undertaking for Hurdle. He has some difficult decisions to make and time is certainly not on his side.
2. The calls should be prioritized. Sorry but I don’t believe Hurdle needs to spend as much time with the fringe players as he does the stars of the club. I trust he picks the brains of James McDonald, Joel Hanrahan, Evan Meek, Neil Walker, Pedro Alvarez, Andrew McCutchen, and Jose Tabata to find out just how they feel about their future with the Pirates.
3. After some conversation with his core players, Hurdle needs to make a stand on Pedro Alvarez and the infield. Lingering questions surround the Pirates defense. Certainly Hurdle will want to get his slugger’s take on a move across the diamond. Remember, Hurdle was moved to first base during his career and it didn’t turn out very well. His perspective on this matter will be interesting to watch, but the bottom line is the Pirates defense must improve greatly for any resemblance of success in 2011. We have to believe he has some strong feelings on the situation.
4. Hurdle should be adamant about freeing up some cash. One thing that Hurdle is very good at is quickly determining who can play and who can’t. Just ask Denny Neagle. Dumping or trading some of the dead weight will be a breath of fresh air for Pirates fans. There are some players on the 40-man who need to go.
Lose Zach Duke. He is done with the Bucs. We wish him well.
5. The coaching staff Hurdle puts together will be a true look for me into the direction Hurdle will take the Pirates. If he accepts and retains most of the current staff, well then he is going to be a status quo, don’t ruffle the feathers manager–The aww shucks, ”they did give me three years approach” so many have pointed at him having.
But if he genuinely wants to turn the Pirates around, he will take a good hard look at some excellent coaches that are available, and he will get them the cash they deserve. For example, if the Pirates are indeed going to be more agressive on the basepaths, Hurdle should have a talk with Davey Lopes and lure him into the Pirates dugout.