Report: Pittsburgh Pirates Will Not Fire Clint Hurdle Or Neal Huntington
By Marty Leap
Amazingly, the Pittsburgh Pirates are not planning any major changes for the 2020 season
Entering the 2019 season the Pittsburgh Pirates were expected to have one of the best pitching staffs in the National League. Due to this, many people viewed them as a dark horse postseason contender. For the first 89 games of the season the team was in the thick of the NL Central and Wild Card races.
Well, since the All-Star Break, everything that can go wrong has. The team entered play on Wednesday night with a miserable 22-46 record since the break. Multiple players have gotten into altercations with members of the coaching staff, and there has been a very public fight in the clubhouse between players. Despite all of this, according to Stephen J. Nesbitt of The Athletic, manager Clint Hurdle will return to the Pirates in 2020.
There is no denying the good Hurdle has done in Pittsburgh. In 2011 he inherited a team that was coming off a 57-105 season and had posted 18 consecutive losing seasons. Despite finishing below .500, the team contended into August in 2011 and September in 2012.
In 2013, Hurdle helped to lead the Pirates back to the postseason. This was the start of three consecutive postseason trips. Led by Hurdle, the team also posted a winning record in 2018 despite missing the postseason.
Even though Hurdle has done plenty of good during his tenure with the Pirates, it is time for a change. The team has been historically bad since the All-Star Break on their way to their third losing season in four seasons, and there are all the clubhouse issues that reflect negatively on Hurdle as well.
As if this news was not enough to upset Pirate fans, Rob Biertempfel added gasoline to the Pirates Twitter fire by reporting that general manager Neal Huntington will return for the 2020 season as well.
Huntington, like Hurdle, has done plenty of good in Pittsburgh. But, also like Hurdle, it can be argued it is time for a change. While it is not a major surprise to see Huntington return, it is a surprise to see Hurdle return. It is also disappointing that the Pirates will not be making any major changes.
While the manager and general manager will both be back in 2020, the Pirates still must make changes. Pitching coach Ray Searage, third base coach/infield instructor Joey Cora, director of player development Kyle Stark, and director of minor league operations Larry Broadway all need to be fired. Huntington needs to gut his scouting department as well. Anything less would be unacceptable. Although, I’d argue retaining both Hurdle and Huntington is already unacceptable.