In what has perhaps been baseball’s most nebulous search for a new manager, MLB Network’s Jon Heyman tweets some context on the Pirates’ hunt for Clint Hurdle’s replacement. Diamondbacks vice president of player development Mike Bell and Phillies player information coordinator Sam Fuld are both of interest to the Pirates. To be clear, though, there’s no indication that either will sit down for an interview, but the organization’s interest in each of some note. Add those two names to a list that also includes Twins bench coach Derek Shelton and former Rangers skipper Jeff Banister, both of whom were previously known to be in consideration.
Both Bell and Fuld have been tied to managerial openings in the past, and Bell is currently reported to be a candidate with the Mets as well. Fuld is just 37 years old and played in the Majors as recently as 2015. He’s been in his current position in Philadelphia since late 2017, serving as a sort of liaison between the front office and players. In that sense, he seems to fit the mold of the industry’s ideal manager in 2019: young, inexperienced, analytically-inclined, a good communicator, and relatively cheap to boot. Fuld earned an interview last offseason with the Blue Jays, with The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal reporting at the time that the young Fuld “made a strong impression” on Toronto brass, though he ultimately withdrew his name from consideration.
Bell, meanwhile, will be recognized for his roots in a distinguished baseball family: his father Buddy Bell enjoyed a fine playing and managing career, while Mike’s brother David manages the Pirates’ division-rival Reds. He interviewed with the Orioles and Rangers last offseason, so teams have been eyeing him for a bit now. Bell has been with the Diamondbacks for more than a decade, previously serving as the director of player development before he was promoted to his current role three years ago. As such, he can claim at least some of the credit for the homegrown talent that has climbed through the Arizona ranks in recent years.
It would seem that the Pirates are considering a wide variety of candidates to be the franchise’s first new manager since 2011; the organization doesn’t appear to be confining its search to a particular archetype or background, which could pay off as the team also seeks to fill out the remainder of the coaching staff. That seems a fair approach for a team that hasn’t had to undergo a managerial change in nearly a decade, especially considering the scrutiny under which general manager Neal Huntington has found himself of late. Pittsburgh is home to what may be the Majors’ most confounding managerial vacancy, with relatively little being reported regarding the organization’s hiring process. As details emerge, though, the Pirates job will certainly offer its fair share of intrigue to this offseason’s storylines.