Pirates Extended Huntington, Russell

2:30pm: MLB.com's Jenifer Langosch passes on a statement from Coonelly which confirms the extensions and says dismissing Russell "is not the appropriate response" to the team's struggles. Coonelly sounds confident in the team's progress, but says "a contract will not prevent us from making a change if one is appropriate and thus contract status truly is irrelevant."

2:22pm: The Pirates extended Russell and Huntington last offseason, according to Dejan Kovacevic of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (via Twitter).

10:53am: The Pirates have extended GM Neal Huntington’s contract through 2011 and may have picked up manager John Russell's option for next season, according to a major league source who spoke to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. Pirates president Frank Coonelly chose not to comment on the contracts of Russell and Huntington.

The timing of the extensions would be odd, but not unprecedented. The 23-42 Pirates appear headed for an 18th consecutive losing season and Russell’s job security appears anything but certain. Rosenthal reports that Huntington, whose contract was set to expire after the season, believes in Russell and shoulders much of the blame for the team’s disappointing play.

Huntington has drafted aggressively (Jameson Taillon, Stetson Allie, Pedro Alvarez) and pursued international free agents with gusto since taking over. He has acquired some promising youngsters (Jose Tabata, Tim Alderson, Bryan Morris) in deals for proven players, though he has given up many valuable players along the way (Jason Bay, Tom Gorzelanny). Like any GM who has been around for a few years, there are commendable moves and regrettable ones in Huntington's history.

The Royals, who might be the American League’s answer to the Pirates, made a similar move last summer. They extended GM Dayton Moore in the midst of a largely disappointing 2009 season.

12 Responses to Pirates Extended Huntington, Russell Leave a Reply

  1. Ian_Smell 5 years ago

    I understand extending Huntington, they can’t really get rid of him because only a few of his acquisitions have reached the majors and some of the other ones look like they’ll be pretty good players. It might be time for Russell to go though, although I doubt that they’ll actually fire him.

  2. Todd Smith 5 years ago

    I like the job Huntington has been doing…not so much with Russell.

  3. TytheSportsGuy 5 years ago


  4. I think Huntington has done a good job in Pittsburgh. I wish the Cubs had him over Jim Hendry for sure.

  5. bigpat 5 years ago

    Huntington deserves more time as he’s acquired a lot of guys who’ve yet to reach the majors. A lot of them are now and the rest of this season and next year we should get a good look at the core guys and how good they can be.

    Russell however has done nothing to deserve a coaching job. He’s terrible at setting lineups, doesn’t use his players well, and is just not a good manager period. No reason for him to stay, they should start fresh and bring in a manager who can better help these players reach their potential.

    • louis_09 5 years ago

      bigpat: Up until yesterday I would have agreed with you entirely. I read somewhere comments that NH has been meddling with the lineup (read: Doumit at 1B) and with positioning. His job is to supply the manager with players. It is the manager’s job to use the talent. If this *IS* true, then 1.) I think NH needs to step back and concern himself with his job…and his job ALONE. 2.) Someone needs to come out and say that is what has/has not happened — I don’t want to pass judgement on Russell if a bunch of the “bad” decisions were not his…but rather dictated from NH. I still think that Long/Kerrigan, and Perry Hill needs to come back — our pitching, hitting AND fielding have all regressed — what they are doing is NOT working; time to change philosophies.

  6. jdub220 5 years ago

    There’s a big difference between Huntington and Dayton Moore though, Ben. Huntington actually knows how to do his job.

  7. aap212 5 years ago

    Huntington clearly has a plan, and one for building a successful long-term franchise. He’s also clearly gotten ownership to buy into it, which is an important skill in and of itself. He’s avoiding shiny stopgaps, he’s stocking up on premium talent in the draft. Smart to keep him around.

    • Tabata, Alvarez, McCutchen, Jones, Walker and even Lastings Milledge. Huntington knows what he’s doing. If we could just get some pitching we’d get wins. Taillon will really help in that department and if they stay on this pace they’re bound to get a top 3 draft pick next year too. Sanchez, Presley, Kratz/Carlin/Gimenez. We have numerous options at catcher now. Doumit could be traded to acquire some good pitchers. Hopefully Daniel McCutchen, Alderson, Lincoln and Rudy Owens can help us out next year.

  8. xander_crews 5 years ago

    Glad to hear they extended Huntington. I think he’s done a good job despite the criticism he receives – sometimes I think unfairly as in the case of Nate McLouth. McCutchen was clearly ready to play (and has been an upgrade in CF), and McLouth certainly has not looked like anything close to an All-Star in ATL. But because they had just signed him long-term, it smacked of the fire sale mentality in past years. I still wish (as many Pirates fans do) Nutting would sell the team to someone who would increase team payroll, but I think Huntington has done well with what he’s had to work with. I hope Russell goes soon. He’s one of the worst managers in baseball.

  9. When is major league baseball going to step in? How about the big corporate sponsors, when are they going to stop spending on the Pirate brand? He continues to hire on the cheap. The plan is farce a to continue to make a profit. All they of done is trim the major league payroll to compensate for their draft signings. The Pirates are the best jobs in sports, on the job training with no accountability.

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