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 FOXSports.com, 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.
Even though Russell isn’t entirely at fault, he needs to go. He’s only associated with the Pirates’ futility.
Russell needs to go. Check out Evan Meek’s stats for the Aug 13 game. Meek was in obvious pain yet Russell left him in. The Pirates have few young blue-chip players and were already certain to finish last in the division. Russell also let James Mcdonald go long on several occasions when there was nothing to be gained by it.
I don’t see how there is an end in sight for the Pirates.
The young position players look promising (Alvarez, Walker, Tabata), in addition to McCutchen but…you’d have to imagine that even if they all pan out and become everyday-MLB players (no guarantee), it’s unlikely they all will become stars. Combine that with the lack of high-end pitching (McDonald needs to show wayyy more) on the horizon…l
There is no end in sight currently, but there is room for hope when it comes to the pitching. Between Taillon, Allie, Heredia, Morris, Locke, Owens, ZVR, Cain, Kingham, Adcock, Wilson, Pounders, Dodson, Baker, Fuesser, and maybe even Miller, there’s plenty of big league potential in the minors with arms. Some of it is closer to being big league ready than others obviously, and it is just potential at this point. But the outlook now looks much better than it has in years past.
But would I be surprised if they went another 5+ years with losing seasons? Absolutely not.
Not only does John Russell need to go, but send hitting coach Don Long packing too! Pitching coach Ray Searage and bench coach Jeff Banister should be invited back if the new manager wants them.
Definitely, sometimes they look so lost at the plate. Sometimes I wonder how that guy still has a job (hitting coach). If they want to move to forward with their talent, then they need a complete overhaul in regard to coaching.
The exiting coaching staff can take Zach Duke, Sean Gallagher, Chan Ho Park, Jason Jaramillo, and Delwyn Young with them.
bucs-lose-again has it correct; we finally have lots of potential in the minor leagues, something the pirates didnt have the past 2 decades.—– jessamyn says its unlikely that they all will become stars. thats fine, most teams barely have 1 much less 2 stars on their rosters. i would rather have better than average YOUNG talent than one albert pujols and his monster salary on the books.
JR’s record is bad and some of it is the tearing down of the old team and the rebuilding of the new team, but beyond that he can’t flat out manage, everything to making out a lineup and a batting order are screwed up with this guy. They can’t/won’t play any small ball. Every team, even teams with power still have to play small ball at times.
Putting my vote in for Andy Van Slyke. He has the passion and baseball knowledge. Even though he hasn’t directly managed a major league team, he learned from one of the best in leyland. I think the pirates should bring him aboard with a veteran bench coach and expect to see much success. I think for the first time in a long time many coaches in baseball would line up for a chance to manage this team for 2012-13 which would inclue Alverez, Walker, McCutheon, Tabata, Talion, Sanchez, Allie, Marte and most likely Rendon. I can even see down the road in a few years when I do actually believe the pirates will be good (2013) it will come full circle and leyland will want to be closer to home and serve as Van Slyke’s bench coach.
Shouldn’t the Pirates do what the Mets are doing by getting rid of both the GM and manager? That would seem to make more sense to me.