Pittsburgh Pirates: Team Needs to Hire Derek Shelton
The Pittsburgh Pirates are in the middle of a coaching search after firing Clint Hurdle. There is one candidate who should be an obvious hire.
When the Pittsburgh Pirates fired Clint Hurdle it was questioned why General Manager Neal Huntington was not also released by the club. The best reason fans and media can come up with is that Hurdle took more of the blame for not developing the players that Huntington brought in. Huntington has made some questionable trades yes, but overall Clint Hurdle seemed to resist developing certain young talent.
Now that the Pittsburgh Pirates are looking for a new manager, they need to find one that is going to be good at developing young talent. Hurdle was a veterans coach working for a small market team where young players are always going to make up the bulk of the Pittsburgh Pirates roster.
Insert Twins’ bench coach Derek Shelton. Shelton is the name cited by numerous reporters such as John Heyman and Jon Morosi as a potential replacement for Clint Hurdle. For all the other names thrown around, Derek Shelton makes the most sense. Shelton has spent time working for the Cleveland Indians, Tampa Bay Rays, Toronto Blue Jays and most recently the Minnesota Twins as a bench coach. With the Tampa Bay Rays he was the hitting coach under Joe Maddon.
What do three out of the four teams listed have in common? The Tampa Bay Rays, the Cleveland Indians, and the Minnesota Twins are all small-market teams. This would likely mean that Shelton would have a good understanding of the expectation of a small market roster. At the end of the day, the Pittsburgh Pirates should spend more money, but they will always be a small-market team that has to build through their own organization first. Shelton working for the Indians, and especially the Rays, has had over 10 years of experience dealing with small markets.
Furthermore, he has had a lot of success with those teams, which also are made up of a lot of young hitters, and what do the Pittsburgh Pirates have? They’re currently a team in transition that currently has a core made up of Josh Bell, Bryan Reynolds, Kevin Newman, and potentially a few other prospects.
Other than just being an experienced hitting coach who has worked with a lot of young hitters in small markets, there is one other important thing to consider. Shelton has been part of success everywhere he has gone. He helped build a really impressive offense for the Indians, helped propel Joe Maddon and the Tampa Bay Rays to some really good years from 2010-2016. Then this year he was integral to the Twins offensive emergence and helped lead them to hit the most home runs by a team in a season.
Derek Shelton checks all the boxes the Pittsburgh Pirates should be looking for in a new manager. He has built small market teams by developing their young hitters and has had a lot of success everywhere he has gone. Other teams around the league have interest in him, such as the Mets, but it sounds like he is the top candidate in the Pittsburgh Pirates’ eyes. Get it done.