TODAY: Mackey reports further that the front office has in fact not yet made any decision on Hurdle’s fate (Twitter link).
YESTERDAY, 9:41pm: Hurdle spoke to reporters Wednesday night, but he didn’t offer much of any insight on who told him he’d manage the team in 2020, nor would he even repeat that he’d been assured as much (Twitter link via Adam Berry of MLB.com). Asked about his job status, Hurdle said he preferred to “pass” on commenting, repeatedly telling the media, “That’s all I’ve got for you,” when pressed further.
8:40pm: Curiously, Huntington declined to confirm or deny Hurdle’s assertion that he’s been told he’ll return next year (Twitter link via Jason Mackey of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette). Asked about Hurdle’s comments, the GM simply replied: “As we have in the past, we will publicly address any personnel decisions at the end of the season.”
6:45pm: While it’s been widely expected that the Pirates organization is in for significant turnover this winter, manager Clint Hurdle apparently won’t be among the casualties. Hurdle himself tells Stephen J. Nesbitt of The Athletic (subscription required) that he was recently assured he’ll be back in the manager’s seat next season.
It’s been a disastrous season in Pittsburgh both on and off the field. The Pirates have had clubhouse fights, multiple on-field brawls and also handed out a suspension to reliever Keone Kela due to a reported altercation with bullpen coach Euclides Rojas. The team’s record sits at a woeful 66-91 after snapping a nine-game losing streak yesterday. There’s been considerable speculation about the likeliehood of a managerial change for the first time in nearly a decade, but it seems that Hurdle, who is signed through the 2021 season, will be given at least another year to try to restore order in the clubhouse and help the club to turn the tides in the win column.
Hurdle describes the 2019 season as a “punch-back” after a “nice season” in 2018 — the Pirates went 82-79, finishing fourth in the NL Central — but spoke optimistically of righting the ship in the future. Hurdle adds that he feels he has plenty left in the tank to finish out his contract, “if that works out.”
It’s not clear whether the Pirates will make sweeping changes on the coaching staff or within the front office, although The Athletic’s Rob Biertempfel tweets that it “seems” that general manager Neal Huntington and team president Frank Coonelly will remain with the team as well.
In his career with the Pirates, Hurdle has managed to a winning record of 732-719, although much of that is attributable to 94- and 98-win seasons in 2013 and 2015, respectively, when Andrew McCutchen was at his peak level of dominance. Despite those impressive win totals, both seasons resulted in Wild Card berths rather than division titles. Since that 98-win apex in 2015, Pittsburgh is 39 games under .500.