Pirates Expected To Fire Russell, Keep Huntington

After posting the worst record in baseball and an 18th consecutive losing season, the Pirates are expected to fire manager John Russell after today's game according to Dejan Kovacevic of The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. GM Neal Huntington is expected to remain. Both men are under contract through the 2011 season.

In three seasons under Huntington and Russell, the Pirates have gone 186-297. Their 57-104 record in 2010 is representative of how poorly they've played; Pittsburgh is dead last in the league in ERA (5.00), UZR (-63.9) and third-worst in OPS (.679). There is no word about the fate of Russell's coaching staff, but Kovacevic notes that most of them have contracts that expire after the season.

Huntington's plan has been clear since taking over: he wants to rebuild the team through the farm system. Andrew McCutchen, Jose Tabata, Pedro Alvarez, and Neil Walker have already broken in with the big league team, and at $30.6MM, the Pirates have spent more money on the draft since 2008 than any other club. They've also been aggressive in pursuing elite international free agents, most notably Miguel Sano.

Building from within takes time, especially when Huntington didn't inherit much talent to begin with. That said, 18 losing seasons is 18 losing seasons, and blame apparently fell on Russell's shoulders.

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