Could The Pittsburgh Pirates And Jeff Bannister Reunite This Offseason?

TORONTO, CANADA - MAY 2: Josh Donaldson #20 of the Toronto Blue Jays talks to manager Jeff Bannister #28 of the Texas Rangers before the start of their MLB game on May 2, 2016 at Rogers Centre in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)
TORONTO, CANADA - MAY 2: Josh Donaldson #20 of the Toronto Blue Jays talks to manager Jeff Bannister #28 of the Texas Rangers before the start of their MLB game on May 2, 2016 at Rogers Centre in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images) /
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With the Pittsburgh Pirates being in need of at least one coach this offseason, could we see a reunion with a familiar face?

On October, 16, 2014 Jeff Bannister was hired as manager of the Texas Rangers. This came after Bannister spent the previous three seasons as the bench coach for Clint Hurdle and the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Prior to joining the Rangers, Bannister had been a Pirate lifer. In 1986 the Pirates drafted Bannister out of the University of Houston. His lone MLB appearance came with the Bucs on July 23, 1991, and his entire MiLB career was spent in the Pirate system. However, when his home state of Texas came calling in October of 2014 it was too much for Bannister to say no to.

As manager of the Rangers, Bannister had plenty of success. In four seasons as manager Bannister owned a 325-313 record. Bannister owned a 2-6 record in the postseason, losing in the ALDS in both 2015 and 2016. He was named the American League Manager of the Year in 2015, and he led the Rangers to an American League West Championship in both 2015 and 2016.

Following back-to-back losing seasons in 2017 and 2018, Bannister was fired as manager of the Rangers. While this move may have come prematurely, it leaves Bannister without a job.

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Right now, the Pirates need a hitting coach. This comes after hitting coaches Jeff Branson and Jeff Livesey were dismissed from their positions earlier this month. This may not be the lone opening on the Pirate coaching staff, though.

Bannister’s old job could soon be vacant. Last week, Pirate bench coach Tom Prince interviewed with the Cincinnati Reds for their open managerial position. You can read more about that here. If Prince were to get the Reds’ job, it’d leave Hurdle and the Bucs looking for two coaches.

So, could Bannister and the Pirates reunite this offseason? It’s certainly a possibility.

Hurdle and Bannister are, and long have been, good friends. So, with Hurdle in need of coaching help it would make sense for him to reach out to his now unemployed friend that has previously been on his coaching staff.

Additionally, there is a familiarity between Bannister and the Pirates. Due to him being a part of the Pirate organization from 1986 – 2014, Bannister is very comfortable in Pittsburgh and with the Pirates. The franchise also knows Bannister and is comfortable with him, too.

Bannister was also a driving force behind the Pirates making the postseason in 2013, 2014, and, despite him being in Texas, 2015. He was one of the first member’s of Hurdle’s staff to get on board with an analytical approach to the game. This played a large role in the team’s players getting on board as well, and analytics and defensive shifting were a huge reason for the team making three consecutive postseason appearances in 2013 – 2015.