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.
Firing Russell and not bringing back hitting coach Don Long for next season is just the start. I wonder who the Pirates will interview for the managerial position. Will someone like Jeff Banister, who’s been w/ the organization for about 25 years, be considered for the job? Time will tell…
I’d like to see Eric Wedge manage the Pirates. They need someone who knows how to get them to the Post-season.
Don Long really needs to go.
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It seems that the Pirates would do well to make a change. My most intriguing candidate once worked for the Pirates as a GM; knows scouting; knows and likes players, even young ones, having been a quite good one himself; has worked next to one of the great young managers as a bench coach and appears to have the right amount of patience/toughness to get a good performance; who is not above explaining the why part of things. Yes. The Pirates need to hire noted baseball man extraordinaire Ted Simmons to be their next manager. He’d be a totally different kind of man from their previous hires.
If the Pirates don’t want him, I’m hoping someone will hire him. I look at him and see him as a “can’t miss” in that role. I’d like for him to prove me right.
This was the right move. They needed to retain NH so he can coninue his good work so far but Russell didn’t seem to work out. From the current coaching staff they can stand to let everyone go but new pitching coach Searage. He has done some good work on a few guys since he got there namely Charlie Morton who has a 3.99 ERA and a 3.00 K/BB in his last five starts.
I don’t really know who would be a good match for manager but a fresh, eager, and tallented guy like Tim Wallach might be a good fit.
Will be interesting to see who the bring in. Hopefully they don’t just promote from within the system…I think it’s time to bring in somebody with some fresh ideas. Knowing Pittsburgh though, they always seem to like to bring in somebody with a connection to the team or the city. I could see somebody like a Ken Macha, Phil Garner or Tony Pena coming in.
Please, the Pirates can HAVE Ken Macha. I’d look forward to kicking his old, emotionally detached butt every year.
Honestly, though, I don’t think the Pirates should look to bring in a young, inexperienced manager. A young, inexperienced manager with young, inexperienced players doesn’t seem like it would work out very well.
Its really hard to have any sympathy for these perennial loser teams after those deadspin documents came out that theyre just pocketing loads of cash rather than putting it back into the team. No team would be this bad year after year if ownership cared a little. Sadly for the Pirate fans, I think its safe to say that it really doesnt matter who they hire to manage the team since it wont make a difference.
Personally, I love Russel, but he just doesn’t have that competitive RAh-RAh spirit a manager should have. Everyone looks nervous around him.
Though, i just want to mention, you can’t blame him for starting Doumit in RF. I think Neil was tinkering will the lineup on that one.
Frank, please keep the current coaching staff. Searage has done a great job with Charlie Morton.
I don’t know. Part of me says this is a good thing, but at the same time Russell has really gotten the shaft here. He consistently had to take a knife to a gun fight and personally, I wouldn’t mind having him back for one more year when he has a little more talent to deal with.
Now, if they fire Huntington, I think my head will explode!
This is what I have been saying, Bucs6. Tell me, fans, what manager could’ve won in this situation? For most of his stay in Pittsburgh, Russell has had to see every productive player get traded. How would you like to coach a team that gets rid of someone as soon as he starts doing well? I’d love to see Torre or Piniella try to win in that situation. It seems to me that Russell ought to at least get to stay for a year, when Management is actually trying to win games. Give him 2011 and see what happens.
I am thinking down the list of great managers, and I don’t think any one of them could have gotten this team to even fifth place. It is pretty demoralizing when you are perpetual sellers year after year after year…
You could bring in any great manager in here and they would have no success because bucs dont spend any money. Who thought they would be any good anyway. Not Russells fault.
Just fire anyone who can be fired.
This post is so full of errors…NH did not draft McCutcheon or Walker and Sano is a TWIN.You’re thinking of Luis Heredia. Do some fact-checking.
Heck NH wanted Walker to be a super utility, not a 2b. He only got a shot because of the utter failure of Aki.
andy van slyke = no brainer
Well he got let go from his last coaching gig as 1b coach with the Tigers, so I don’t think he would be a good choice.
“They’ve also been aggressive in pursuing elite international free agents, most notably Miguel Sano.”
Stupid statement. BFD if they pursued Sano; they didn’t sign him. Any team could be said to have “pursued” someone.
I exspect them to fire JR today and not tell anyone about it until springtraining starts.
Tell me, fans, what manager could’ve won in this situation? For most of his stay in Pittsburgh, Russell has had to see every productive player get traded. How would you like to coach a team that gets rid of someone as soon as he starts doing well? I’d love to see Torre or Piniella try to win in that situation. It seems to me that Russell ought to at least get to stay for a year, when Management is actually trying to win games. Give him 2011 and see what happens.
And if everybody’s contract is over, DO NOT bring back Long or Beasley no matter WHAT.
And either get Walbeck or hire someone who actually knows something about baseball.
Oh yeah, and choose Rendon.