Huntington Non-Committal About Russell’s Future With Bucs

It's not exactly a ringing vote of confidence when a GM refers to the issue of his manager returning next season as "the million-dollar question" (Twitter link) but that's just how Pirates general manager Neal Huntington referred to the club's situation with manager John Russell.  Speaking with Jim Bowden of, Huntington said that the club would evaluate their major league staff after the season and didn't seem to hint as to whether or not Russell would be back in 2011 (both Twitter links).

Both Huntington and Russell had their contracts extended last winter, though there were some rumors that Russell could be fired back in June.  Russell has a 185-296 record in three years as Pittsburgh's manager, and while it's hard to entirely blame Russell given the team's lack of talent, the fact that the Pirates have the league's worst record this season doesn't help his case.  Russell was Huntington's first hire as the team's manager back in November 2007.

Should Pittsburgh decide to go in a different direction, they will be the seventh club (after the Blue Jays, Braves, Cubs, Diamondbacks, Mariners and Marlins) looking for a new manager this winter.  This number could rise if Milwaukee declines to pick up Ken Macha's option, the Mets fire Jerry Manuel, Tony La Russa leaves St. Louis and Joe Girardi doesn't re-sign with the Yankees.  One potential managerial opening is all but officially closed with Dusty Baker on the verge of re-signing with the Reds.

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