Could a former defensive wizard outfielder be a fit for the Pittsburgh Pirates as their next manager?
As the calendar rolls toward mid-October, the Pittsburgh Pirates continue to search for their next manager. Thus far, a variety of names have been connected to the Pirates’ managerial opening. These names include Jeff Bannister, Derek Shelton, and Mike Bell, among others.
On the site we have gone into deeper detail on some of these names. We have taken a look at potential managerial candidates that have ties to the Pirates, as well as candidates that are on coaching staffs that reached the postseason this year.
One name that has been connected to the Pirates, but we have not discussed on the site, is Sam Fuld. The former defensive whiz outfielder is one of the more intriguing names that has been tied to the Pirates this offseason.
Fuld had an 8-year MLB career. The outfielder played for the Chicago Cubs, Tampa Bay Rays, Oakland A’s, and Minnesota Twins before retiring following the 2017 season. Even though he did not officially retired until after the 2017 season, he did not play in the Majors again after 2015.
Fuld was never much of a hitter slashing just .227/.307/.325 in his career. However, he was known as a defensive wizard. He was responsible for 32 defensive runs saved in his career, and made his fair share of highlight reel catches.
Following his retirement, Fuld became the Major League player information coordinator for the Philadelphia Phillies. Last offseason, he interviewed for the Toronto Blue Jays’ managerial position and was among the finalists for the job before he withdrew his name from consideration. This offseason, he is a popular managerial candidate once again.
While Fuld lacks coaching experience, he is a hot name in baseball circles for a reason. In his position with the Phillies he worked with the team’s analytics department to help integrate the information into the team’s on-field decisions. He also played for two of the best run and most analytically driven organizations in baseball when he was with the Rays and A’s. So, taking a new aged, analytically driven approach to the game is nothing new to Fuld.
Some people may argue that Fuld’s age could be a detriment, a younger manager may be exactly what the Pirates need. The Pirate clubhouse is in dire need of a breathe of fresh air. They need someone who can connect on a personal level with the 25 men in that clubhouse and form a bond with them that will help bring out the best in each player. Fuld can be this leader.
Hiring Fuld would be a bit of a gamble. After all, he has never held a professional coaching role let alone a MLB coaching position. That said, all signs point toward him being a rising star among managerial candidates. He also checks off a lot of the boxes teams will look for in a manager.
Becoming a MLB manager appears to be a question of when and not if when it comes to Fuld. Could his breakthrough come with the Pirates? We will have to wait and see. He is certainly an intriguing candidate, and one worth rolling the dice on.