Report: Pirates will fire Russell, keep Huntington

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The Pirates are ready for change.  Again.

Dejan Kovacevic of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette heard from “several internal sources” this weekend that the Bucs will cut ties with manager John Russell soon after the offseason hits.  GM Neal Huntington, though, is thought to be safe.

Russell’s contract runs through 2011, but the Pirates have 104 losses this season and could wind up with 105 if things don’t go well in Sunday’s regular season finale against the Marlins.  Barely any of the poor play can be blamed on Russell, but this is professional sports.  Major League Baseball is a what have you done for me lately kind of place.  The captain must go down with the ship.  Pick your cliche.

Russell offered some words of optimism after Saturday’s game when asked to review the 2010 season, highlighting the play of youngsters like Pedro Alvarez, Neil Walker, Garrett Jones and Andrew McCutchen.  It won’t be enough to save his job, apparently, but Russell is right — there is some light at the end of the tunnel for the Pirates.

“The
thing I look at most is how we developed our young players,” Russell
replied. “I can’t remember since I’ve been here where we’ve had
four-plus guys who can drive in runs for us. We’ve always had one or
two, but you look at Walker, Pedro, Jones, McCutchen … it’s exciting
to see. I think our offense is starting to get some type of identity
where we can score runs now and, if we get good pitching, we’ve got a
pretty good chance to win.”

Russell currently stands 186-298 as a manager and will probably struggle to find a head job in the near future.

Matt Davidson to train to be a two-way player this offseason

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Look out Shohei Ohtani, someone is stealing your bit.

White Sox corner guy/DH Matt Davidson pitched three innings in three appearances in 2018. He was pretty good too, blanking the opposition, facing 11 batters, allowing one hit and striking out two. That’s not too bad for a 27-year-old guy who hasn’t pitched since high school. In fact, it’s good enough that, according to 670 The Score, the White Sox have given him the OK to do some serious pitching work this offseason in an attempt to become a two-way player next year.

There’s nothing certain about it — the Sox will see where he’s at after he puts some work in and decide whether or not to let him continue — but it’s notable that they’re entertaining the idea. And says a lot about just how much teams have come to value bullpen arms.

On offense Davidson hit .228/.319/.419 with 20 homers and 62 RBI on the year. That’s not exactly setting the world on fire for a guy with little defensive value, but marry it up with the skills to pitch an inning or two of relief here and there and maybe you got something.