Managerial changes this time of the year are hardly unusual. It is usually on the cusp of the playoffs that teams begin leaking as to whether or not they are planning to move on from managers or other members of the coaching staff if those decisions have already been made. Just earlier today, it was widely reported that the Cubs and Joe Maddon made the apparently mutual decision to part ways.
However, what makes the news now more interest is that it appeared as though the manager in question was going to stay. While the Pirates’ season would make it seem as though manager Clint Hurdle’s job was at least in jeopardy. However, just a few days ago, this was the news we got.
Exclusive: Clint Hurdle has been informed he’ll be back as #Pirates manager next season. I spoke with him about it before today's game. "I’d love to win a World Series ring before I no longer am in uniform. That hourglass has been flipped over. I’m 62.”https://t.co/tWZNGhNNkZ— Stephen J. Nesbitt (@stephenjnesbitt) September 25, 2019
Again, it wasn’t REALLY Hurdle’s fault that the Pirates were not particularly good. That was largely due to talent deficits and youth throughout the roster as the team goes through what seems to be a half-hearted rebuild/retooling. Pittsburgh is always going to have to have to get a bit lucky to compete given the payroll restrictions they will habitually be under. Nonetheless, while Hurdle’s job appeared to be safe just days ago, things have taken a pretty dramatic turn.
#Pirates firing manager Clint Hurdle, sources tell The Athletic. GM Neal Huntington will stay. Coaching staff to be determined by net manager.— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) September 29, 2019
As Rosenthal noted in later tweets, there was either some sort of misunderstanding or miscommunication between the club and Hurdle or Hurdle was attempting to make some sort of power play to keep his job. Regardless of what happened (and we are sure to get more information on that in the hours and days ahead), Hurdle is out of a job after over 700 wins in a Pirates uniform and well over 1,200 overall.
After a season where the Pirates finished dead last in the NL Central, the organization will have their hands full in finding a manager that will be able to turn things around.