Clint Hurdle has clearly been atop the Pirates’ manager wish list all offseason, but the Mets expressing interest in the former Rockies skipper threatened to ruin Pittsburgh’s plans.
However, according to Jon Heyman of SI.com the Pirates have agreed to a contract with Hurdle, who’ll replace John Russell as manager of a team that hasn’t had a winning season since 1992.
Hurdle served as the Rangers’ hitting coach this season, so the Pirates put their manager search on hold until the World Series was over and they could interview him. He took the Rockies to the World Series in 2007, but had a 534-625 (.461) overall record that included just one winning season in eight years.
Now that Hurdle is officially out of the mix, the Mets are reportedly deciding between Terry Collins and Bob Melvin as their next manager.
Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork.com reports that “Terry Collins, Clint Hurdle, and Bob Melvin have emerged as leading candidates in the Mets’ search for a manager.”
However, new general manager Sandy Alderson apparently hasn’t officially trimmed his list to three names, as Rubin adds that “a potential fourth candidate for a callback is current third base coach Chip Hale” and “one potential additional interviewee is ex-Met Jose Oquendo.”
In other words, they probably still aren’t very close to deciding on a new manager. It does suggest that DeMarlo Hale, Dave Jauss, Don Wakamatsu, and Wally Backman are no longer serious candidates for the job.
Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork.com reports that the Mets will begin interviewing external manager candidates this week, starting with Red Sox bench coach DeMarlo Hale tomorrow.
General manager Sandy Alderson is then slated to meet with Rangers hitting coach Clint Hurdle and newly hired Blue Jays bench coach Don Wakamatsu on Wednesday.
Hale previously interviewed for the Blue Jays’ job that went to fellow Red Sox coach John Farrell, while both Hurdle and Wakamatsu have experience managing in the majors.
Alderson has already interviewed in-house candidates Bob Melvin, Wally Backman, Terry Collins, Chip Hale, and Dave Jauss.
Pittsburgh put its manager search on hold until after the World Series in order to interview Texas hitting coach Clint Hurdle, and now Bill Brink of the Pittsburgh Post Gazette reports that the Pirates are down to Hurdle and in-house candidate Jeff Banister as the finalists for the job.
Banister has spent 25 years in the Pirates’ organization, including eight years as minor league coordinator before becoming John Russell’s bench coach in August. Russell was fired last month.
Hurdle, who managed the Rockies from 2002 to mid-2008, is considered the favorite for the job. He took Colorado to the World Series in 2007, but that was Hurdle’s lone winning season and he finished with an overall record of 534-625 for a .461 winning percentage.
Despite wrapping up interviews with various managerial candidates two weeks ago the Pirates have yet to name a replacement for John Russell, which has Tracy Ringolsby of FOXSports.com speculating that they’re waiting for the postseason to end so they can talk to Rangers hitting coach Clint Hurdle.
Hurdle was the Rockies’ manager from 2002-2009 and took the team to the World Series in 2007, but that was also his lone playoff appearance and his overall record was just 534-625 for a sub par .461 winning percentage.
Ringolsby covered the Rockies for the Rocky Mountain News while Hurdle was manager and clearly thinks very highly of him, writing that he “would seem to fit the Pirates’ needs well” after “elevating the Rockies credibility among sports fans” in Colorado.
Pittsburgh has suffered through 18 straight losing seasons and avoiding a 19th will be tough in 2011, but the Pirates do have a solid nucleus of young talent and probably aren’t as far away from snapping the streak (and perhaps even contending in the NL Central) as most people would assume.