Should There Be Changes With The Pittsburgh Pirates Coaching Staff?


The Pittsburgh Pirates are coming off of their first losing season since 2012. Due to this, many people are calling for changes with the coaching staff.

No matter how you cut it the 2016 season was a disappointing one for the Pittsburgh Pirates. The Bucs entered the season looking to earn their fourth consecutive postseason berth, but came up short. However, this was not the most disappointing part.

The disappointing part is that the Pirates finished under .500 (78-83-1) for the first time since 2012. And this came despite being six games over .500 entering the final week of August. Furthermore, the Pittsburgh Pirates entered this final week of August just one game out of a postseason spot.

Due to this poor season Pirate fans are calling for change. There are fans who want to see changes to the roster, the coaching staff, and the front office. However, this article will focus on the coaching staff.

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A lot of fans want to see changes to the Pittsburgh Pirates’ coaching staff. Hell, some have even gone as far to say manager Clint Hurdle should be fired. Personally, I think this is insane.

In six seasons as manager of the Pittsburgh Pirates Clint Hurdle has a 509-462-1 record. This includes guiding the Pirates to three consecutive postseason appearances in 2013, 2014, and 2015. Furthermore, it was Hurdle’s attitude and leadership that helped turned the Pirates around after being perennial losers prior to his arrival.

In my opinion, Clint Hurdle’s job should be one hundred percent safe. And no one will make me feel otherwise. However, for the rest of his coaching staff that is not the case.

First off, there is hitting coach Jeff Branson. Branson is one coach whose job should be safe as well. 2016 was Branson’s third season as the Pirates’ hitting coach, and the Bucs have finished sixth or better in the National League in runs scored in each of these seasons.

Next up is pitching coach Ray Searage. Lmao, who am I kidding? Uncle Ray might be the best pitching coach in the business. The Pirates will have to fight to keep him in Pittsburgh. Next!

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If there are two coaches that should be on the hot seat, in my opinion, they are first base coach Nick Leyva and third base coach Rick Sofield. More so Sofield than Leyva. While there are not any real issues with Leyva, the issues with Sofield are very visible. Honestly, I only included Leyva here in case the Pirates are looking for scapegoats which I doubt they are.

As for Sofield, he has left a lot to be desired the past two seasons. While, yes, Sof has a great personality and is a fun guy to be around, he is a bad third base coach. Furthermore, he is also the Pirates’ base running coach. And the past two seasons the Pirates have made a lot of base running blunders. This, ultimately, falls back on the base running coach.

In my opinion, the Pittsburgh Pirates’ coaching staff is just fine. Rick Sofield is the only member of the staff that should even be considered to be on the hot seat. I believe that the Pirates do not need to make any coaching changes this offseason.