The Pittsburgh Pirates perpetually find themselves with little margin for error. The team is in a notoriously small, tough market with a limited payroll and also is in a very tough division that includes the Cubs, Cardinals, and Brewers...all of whom have recent, significant playoff runs on their resumes.
Given that, to remain remotely competitive, the Pirates have had to be extremely savvy with who they sign and trade for in addition to have luck break their way. In recent years, they had been able to do just that, but a series of moves also came under scrutiny including the package they received in return for the guy that is arguably the best pitcher in baseball in Gerrit Cole in addition to trading for Chris Archer among other moves.
The Pirates had already made the decision to move on from manager Clint Hurdle, but it sounded like the team was going to stand by general Neal Huntington despite these miscues. However, with a new team president coming in, it looks like things have changed quite a bit.
Can confirm the Pirates are firing GM Neal Huntington with two years left on his contract, as @JMackeyPG just reported.— Adam Berry (@adamdberry) October 28, 2019
Clean sweep, albeit in an unusual order: manager Clint Hurdle, president Frank Coonelly, GM Neal Huntington.
Despite Huntington’s best attempts to make changes around him in order to save his job, it was not enough. Huntington had two years remaining on his contract and for a team that counts their pennies as much as the Pirates do, they now have a decent chunk of change being owed to Hurdle and Huntington despite neither being with the organization anymore.
The coverage of Huntington’s future has been interesting given that Pirates’ owner Bob Nutting had given him the dreaded vote of confidence not long after the team let go of Clint Hurdle. Hurdle himself had seemingly been given a certain amount of assurance that he was going to remain with the team and, well, we saw how that turned out.