The Pittsburgh Pirates will extend manager Clint Hurdle through the 2014 season and will have a club option for 2015. The Bucs usually play awful in the second half of the year, so ownership and management apparently ignored the two recent collapses. The Pirates will keep the 55-year old skipper on the payroll as first reported by Rob Biertempfel.
It’s widely known that majority owner Bob Nutting loves the gum chomping manager so the news isn’t shocking by any means. Nutting will come down to Bradenton on Wednesday to deliver his annual rah-rah speech to the players—yeh the one where two years ago he proclaimed the Pirates were going to win the NL East. Yeh, that’s not a misprint. Most believe the Dollar General will make the announcement about the extension at that time.
Hurdle is the master of the one-liner and the Pirates customers think highly of the skipper, thus we would have to believe his approval rating among the target demographic is off the charts. The 6’3″ Hurdle commands every room he enters, but the big question is can he command the club? Will he be able to snap two-years of heartbreak and get his team to believe, that despite numerous question marks on the 2013 roster, the team is ready to contend.
The agreement was first reported by Biertempfel although the whispers have been around for a while now, and it was hard to imagine the Buccos heading into the season with a lame duck on the bench. Unfortunately for him, Hurdle has had one winning season in his ten-year managing career.
Since taking over for John Russell, his losing ways continued last season. As the Pirates manager, Hurdle has guided his teams to a 151-173 record. The former Kansas City Royals SI coverboy had his only season as skipper of a winning ballclub in 2007 when the Colorado Rockies won 90 games.
Over the course of his managerial career, Hurdle has won 685 games and lost 798 games. The Big Rapids, Michigan native finished third in Manager of the Year voting in ’07 and sixth in 2011 with the Bucs.
We get the feeling that the Pirates feel like 2013 will be the year. The club has assembled a nice core of players and surrounded them with question marks that just might work out. Or might not. Either way, Clint will get paid for 2014. Sounds like a helluva deal.