The Pirates found themselves in an awkward position when the organization fired general manager Neal Huntington, who had already begun his search for the team’s next manager after Clint Hurdle was fired on the last day of the season. The staggered firings halted the managerial search while introducing the possibility that the next GM would want to take the search in a new direction.
Since a number of candidates have already interviewed to be Hurdle’s replacement, the team won’t necessarily be starting over once a new GM is hired, but the new head of baseball ops will seemingly be somewhat limited in his or her capacity to drive the hiring process. With all that said, Jason Mackey of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette suggests that of the group that has already interviewed, Derek Shelton, Mark Kotsay, and Jeff Banister had emerged as the favorites, though it’s hard to tab anyone a real frontrunner at this point without a GM steering the ship.
Nine names have been linked to the Pirates’ search thus far, though beyond the organization’s change of direction, at least some of these candidates could already be out of consideration. Astros bench coach Joe Espada is reportedly one of the finalists to be the Giants’ next skipper, while the Athletics have already announced that bench coach Ryan Christenson and quality control coach Kotsay will be back on next season’s staff. While that announcement wouldn’t preclude Christenson or Kotsay from a future Pirates hiring, it was noted that Kotsay was no longer a candidate for the Giants’ job.
Interviews with GM candidates will begin this week, MLB Network’s Jon Heyman reports (Twitter link), and we should soon start to hear concrete details about names under consideration. The likes of former Red Sox and Orioles GM Dan Duquette, Brewers assistant GM Matt Arnold, Blue Jays senior VP Tony LaCava, Yankees scout Marc DelPiano have already been mentioned as speculative candidates.