Last week the Pirates fired team president Frank Coonelly. At the time the team it was assumed that, while Coonelly was gone, general manager Neal Huntington was staying in place. Indeed, about a month ago team owner Bob Nutting said that Huntington was the best guy to run the club going forward.
So much for that: Jason Mackey of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports that the team fired Huntington yesterday afternoon. An official announcement is expected later today.
Huntington, like Coonelly, was hired at the end of the 2007 season. The Pirates experienced a brief run of success during his tenure, making the postseason in 2013, 2014, and 2015, but that seemed to be but a blip surrounded by years and years of losing and uninspired moves on either side, culminating in this year’s oftentimes ugly 93-loss campaign.
Under Huntington, who made his reputation under Mark Shapiro in Cleveland, the Pirates have developed a reputation for not wanting to spend money on talent. They’ve also developed a track record of making trades that seem more geared toward shedding payroll — or even potential future payroll — than in acquiring talent. The result, in addition to losing baseball, has been broad-based apathy on the part of Pittsburgh sports fans.
The Pirates are also without a manager at the moment. Jon Heyman reported this morning that the team will put a halt to its managerial search in order to find a replacement for Huntington.
So, the Pirates are starting from scratch, a month into the offseason, after spending a few weeks involved in a manager search conducted by a guy who just got fired.
It’s gonna be a long winter in Steel City.