Coonelly: No Changes Coming For Pirates

Pirates GM Neal Huntington and his front office staff have come under heavy scrutiny in recent weeks, as his club is mired in a second straight second half collapse that has them poised for a 20th consecutive losing season. Despite that, team president Frank Coonelly issued a statement endorsing Huntington and his staff on Wednesday. Here is the text, courtesy of Karen Price of The Pittsburgh Tribune Review:

“As soon as we finish this season as well as we possibly can, we will turn our full and total attention to evaluating why were unable to finish the job and what we must do differently to take the next step to becoming a championship team. There will unquestionably be changes made to the way in which we operate as a result of this thorough critical self-evaluation, but we will not be making personnel changes at the very top of our baseball operations department. Neal, [assistant GM Kyle Stark], [assistant GM Greg Smith] and [manager Clint Hurdle] are dedicated and intelligent baseball men in whom I have great confidence.

“Confidence in and support of Neal, Kyle and Greg should not be misunderstood with acceptance of another poor finish at the Major League level. We must understand why the quality of our execution and play deteriorated so markedly in August. Finishing was the focus from spring training but it certainly was not achieved.”

Last week we learned about a military-style training program implemented by Huntington and Stark for the club's top prospects. Few around the game will be surprised if the front office is overhauled, but Coonelly's statement suggests that the current regime will be given a chance to reap the rewards of a strong farm system that includes top pitching prospects Gerrit Cole and Jameson Taillon.

Huntington has been at the helm in Pittsburgh since the end of the 2007 season. The club has gone 330-561 under his watch with four last place finishes in five full years. Baseball America ranked the Pirates' farm system as the 26th best in baseball when Huntington was hired, and this past winter they had climbed to 11th. Five years is generally considered enough time to evaluate a rebuild though, and patience in the Steel City has certainly begun to wear thin.

39 Responses to Coonelly: No Changes Coming For Pirates Leave a Reply

  1. Hurdle needs to be FIRED.

    • Whoever voted this down is crazy.

      • Lee Foo Young 3 years ago

        Just because your opinion proves unpopular with the masses, doesn’t mean it is wrong. Don’t worry about vote downs….they happen. :) :)

    • Would somebody who voted this down please have the guts to come forward and tell me why Hurdle should be kept?

      • whiteAngus 3 years ago

        i didnt vote it down, but i’ll try and respond. i have no idea.
        but seriously, Hurdle cost us quite a few chances in games this season, i’ll give you that. and managers are hired to be fired. problem is, I cant think of a great reason for him to stay except he’s a great soundbite.

      • Lee Foo Young 3 years ago

        Eric…I agree…if Hurdle gets the credit for our resurgence, he should get the ‘credit” for our collapses. I am amazed that credit for his winning is given to him, but when we collapse, blame is assigned to NH. Boggles the mind!!

        The man has only won ONE frikkin year in his managerial career (and ONLY because of an insane Colorado Sept)! When has he proven he’s a winner?

        Great guy, lousy manager!!

    • Kevin Chambers 3 years ago

      Gladly. Hurdle has taken the team to contention or inspired the team to contention. He has gotten them to a point where weakness are being exposed, which I will say the front office has not done their job to fill those holes.

      • He allowed them to completely fall apart two years in a row! He didn’t do anything to bring them into contention and he surely has not inspired them. They rarely show passion and they always look so deflated. And also, their weaknesses have always been evident, he just made them even worse.

        • Kevin Chambers 3 years ago

          That’s why the last two years he’s had a higher winning percentage, gotten more out of his players, than the managers before him?

          • Winner percentages are meaningless if you aren’t making the playoffs or at least finishing above .500. And he also has more talent than most managers before him. They’ve won probably 95% of their games in spite of him. He is a horrible decision maker.

          • whiteAngus 3 years ago

            they arent meaningless if you exceed expectations, which the pirates did in both 2011 and 2012. despite what you may think, this team has improved greatly since losing well over 100 games just 2 seasons ago. Hurdle has made some big mistakes, but for the most part he has the same players as Russell had in 2010: Cutch, Pedro, Walker, Tabata, Jones. the difference now is that these players have, for the most part, gotten better.

          • whiteAngus 3 years ago

            players have gotten better. cutch, alvarez and jones have all improved, and so did walker for a long stretch. but the main reason why we improved was the first half pitching, which was some of the best in all of MLB.

          • $21621694 3 years ago

            I don’t understand people freaking out. I mean the pirates were contending for a while, and they collapsed two years in a row but if you look at the big picture Hurdle took a 50 wins team into a 70 wins team. And the team has already beaten last year’s mark so they are on the right track. Give him one more year if he does worse than this year fire him

      • Smrtbusnisman04 3 years ago

        Whoever keeps telling Jose Tabata to steal bases, when he has ZERO speed, needs to update their resume.

  2. Jonathan Cunningham 3 years ago

    Hurdle and stark both need to go. Really wish the team was sold to mark cuban, then losing would be inexcusable, as opposed to the norm.

  3. Thats it. I have given my heart and soul to this team for 21 years now and im officially done. These guys had 5 years to turn this team around and simply could not do it. People say they have a better farm system? No one down there can hit the ball. You can have all the pitching in the world but they arent gonna score you runs. This front office is an absolute joke. Huntington couldnt find a decent bat if Albert Pujols smacked him with one. Thank you for the very little good times I had and ill be back when changes are made. Never thought I would say those words but you wouldnt think it would be that hard to have at least one winning season in 20 years

    • whiteAngus 3 years ago

      pitching wins ballgames, son. thats how we got 16 games over in the first place.
      dont let the door hitcha on the way out.

      • $21621694 3 years ago

        You need a combination of hitting, pitching and defense. Not just pitching or just hitting. The pirates biggest flaw is their catcher batting .190 and throwing out 6% of runners. He doesn’t get on base and of course he can’t run

        • whiteAngus 3 years ago

          mckenry aint exactly throwing runners out either. the team knows it needs to upgrade the catching and hopefully they will in 2013. either TSanchez will be ready or they’ll sign another free agent catcher. sad thing is, this was Barajas worst season in a long time.

          • Lee Foo Young 3 years ago

            I doubt Sanchez is the answer

  4. bucsws2014 3 years ago

    I think the key thing here is that Nutting didn’t say it. Which means there’s a shot he could still fire them all.

    • Lee Foo Young 3 years ago

      I highly doubt Frank would say something without talking to Nutting first.

  5. BeatEmBucs 3 years ago

    All I ask for is Gregg Ritchie to lose his job the second that the final out of the season is made. Anything on top of that is gravy.

    • whiteAngus 3 years ago

      why Richie? McCutchen, Alvarez, Walker and Jones all had their best offensive seasons to date. These are the kinds of players that are supposed to get better, and they did. maybe richie had something to do with it?

      • Smrtbusnisman04 3 years ago

        The team has the 4th worst on base % in the league. Something NEEDS to be done to improve that.

      • BeatEmBucs 3 years ago

        They’re also 3rd in all of baseball in strikeouts, 27th in walks, 22nd in runs scored, and 27th in OBP. They’re run production, top to bottom, is awful.

    • Lee Foo Young 3 years ago

      I would like to see the baserunning coach, Silverio, go….

  6. Kevin Chambers 3 years ago

    They need another starting pitcher, either have Cole, or Jameson come up, and a vet or two to help with protecting Andrew.

    • whiteAngus 3 years ago

      i agree, except that its going to have to be another FA pitcher or one via trade. Taillon is not ready.

  7. formerdraftpick 3 years ago

    The team still needs to win more than 10 games after the All-Star break.

  8. Smrtbusnisman04 3 years ago

    Hey guys, I’m back and I finally got Google Chrome. I was wondering if the organization should trade Joel Hanrahan. He’s going to arbitration again this year, and I’m wondering what prospects we can get for him.

    I figure the Angels, Red Sox, and Blue Jays could all be possible buyers for ‘closers’ or 9th inning guys if you think saves are an overrated statistic.

  9. goner 3 years ago

    I’ll give Huntington and Hurdle a pass for last year’s collapse, since the Pirates were clearly playing way over their heads. However, given the magnitude of this year’s collapse, from 16 games over .500 in August to a losing record, no one will be held accountable for it? Incredible.

  10. Guest 3 years ago

    You don’t have to read it, sir.

  11. whiteAngus 3 years ago

    this team, and every team, needs pitching. its pretty obvious the reason for this extended season ending slump: pitching.

  12. whiteAngus 3 years ago

    because they have better players, and pitchers, than we do? perhaps?

  13. Smrtbusnisman04 3 years ago

    They need at least another solid hitter. The lineup has looked bad at times; the team has the 4th worst obp% in the league. Sometimes, they look like chickens with their heads cut off.

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