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Report: Pirates haven’t talked to Clint Hurdle about a contract extension

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Pirates manager Clint Hurdle is signed through the 2017 season with a club option for the ’18 season. The Pirates have not approached Hurdle about a contract extension that would keep him in town beyond that, Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reports.

In six seasons under Hurdle’s leadership, the Pirates have gone 509-462 (.524) with three consecutive playoff appearances from 2013-15. Their ’13 appearance ended a 21-year playoff drought, but they ultimately lost to the Cardinals in five games in the NLDS.

Hurdle, a baseball lifer, has been praised for his willingness to work with a front office under GM Neal Huntington that has been among the most statistically-inclined. The Pirates’ reliance on statistics has led to an abundance of shifts, a trend that has become more and more popular in baseball.

Biertempfel suggests that, if the Pirates choose to move on from Hurdle after the 2017 season, bench coach Tom Prince could be the next in command. Prince managed the Williamsport Crosscutters (short-season Single-A) in 2005-06, which was then the Pirates’ minor league affiliate. He managed the Pirates’ Gulf Coast League team in 2007. In 2014, he managed the Pirates’ advanced Single-A team in Bradenton and was promoted to manage Double-A Altoona the next season.

2017 Preview: The National League West

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For the past few weeks we’ve been previewing the 2017 season. Here, in handy one-stop-shopping form, is our package of previews from the National League West.

The Giants had the best record in all of baseball at the All-Star Break and the Dodgers lost the best pitcher in the world in Clayton Kershaw for a big chunk of the season. Yet, somehow, L.A. won the NL West by four games. The biggest culprit was the Giants’ suspect bullpen, which they put some real money toward fixing this winter. Is it enough? Or is a a Dodgers team with a healthy Kershaw just too talented for San Francisco to handle?

Below them is an intriguing Rockies team, though probably not a truly good Rockies team. The Dbacks have a lot of assorted talent but are nonetheless in reshuffle mode following a miserable 2016 campaign. The Padres, meanwhile, are in full-fledged rebuilding mode, but do possess some of the best minor league talent in the game.

Here are our previews of the 2017 NL West:

Los Angeles Dodgers
San Francisco Giants
Colorado Rockies
Arizona Diamondbacks
San Diego Padres

2017 Preview: The American League West

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For the past few weeks we’ve been previewing the 2017 season. Here, in handy one-stop-shopping form, is our package of previews from the American League West

There’s not a lot of separation between the top three teams in this division. Indeed, it would not be a surprise for either the Astros, Rangers or Mariners to end the year on top. Part of that is because none of these contenders are perfect, with all three facing some big challenges in putting together a strong rotation.

Meanwhile, the best baseball player in the universe toils in Anaheim, where he’ll most likely have to content himself to playing spoiler. Up the coast in Oakland . . . um, green is pretty?

Our 2017 AL West Previews:

Houston Astros
Seattle Mariners
Texas Rangers
Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
Oakland Athletics