The Pittsburgh Pirates have a bench coach who is gaining a lot of interest from teams looking to hire a new manager. This includes another a big market team from the American League.
Current Pittsburgh Pirates bench coach Don Kelly has always been a popular person in the game of baseball. Especially here in Pittsburgh, after all Kelly is from Mt. Lebanon and attended Point Park University. However, Kelly was more than just a known baseball product from the Pittsburgh area.
Over the course of his nine year big league career Kelly played for three Major League teams. He debuted with the Pittsburgh Pirates back in 2007, but was not able to stick around. After that, he did not make it back to the big leagues until 2009 with the Detroit Tigers. He ended up carving out a role with the Tigers and became known as a very good depth utility player. Over six seasons, Kelly spent time up and down between the Tigers and their Triple-A affiliate. He finished his big league career with the Marlins organization in 2015 and 2016.
Like I said, Kelly was known as a good depth utility player. He never tore the cover off the ball, batting a career .230, but he could play multiple positions. The reason teams liked having him in their organization was because he had a really good knowledge about the game and that led him to being successful at playing multiple positions.
This reputation has led him to being a manager candidate. Kelly started coaching with the Houston Astros in 2019 (hired in November 2018). Before serving as the Astros first base coach, Kelly was in the scouting department with the Detroit Tigers. Currently, he serves as the Pittsburgh Pirates bench coach, and was brought in by Ben Cherington. He has had a lot of experience at each level of the game, as a player, coach, and from the Front Office side of things.
Naturally Kelly should be viewed as a future head coach candidate. Kelly has already interviewed this offseason with the Detroit Tigers. He would be a logical candidate for the Tigers after spending so much time with the organization.
If the Tigers are not going to move on with Kelly, it is hard to imagine that the big market Boston Red Sox would. The Red Sox have a hire pressure market and will expect results quickly. Taking on a first time manager may not appease the Boston Fan Base.
Still, the Red Sox job would be an interesting one for Kelly to consider. Chaim Bloom, the Red Sox GM, is a progressive thinker that may think outside the box when looking to hire staff. Bloom was previously with the Tampa Bay Rays and has shown early on that he will use aspects of the Rays organization when running the Red Sox. This would be a big loss for the Pittsburgh Pirates.