Jon Heyman is reporting this morning that the Pirates have hired Clint Hurdle to be their next manager and should make an official announcement tomorrow. According to Ken Rosenthal, Hurdle’s been signed to a three-year deal, which you could either read as a vote of confidence for Neal Huntington (who as far as we know only has one year left on his current deal), a sign that Frank Coonelly is making these decisions, or a meaningless number because pretty much all managers everywhere get three-year deals when first hired.
When it became clear last week that Hurdle was the favorite for the Pirates’ job, I wasn’t all that blown away, but when the Mets started showing serious interest in him I had the same thought that Wilbur Miller had (link via Bucs Dugout): Sandy Alderson is a really smart guy who I have a lot of respect for as a GM and if Hurdle is someone he was considering hiring than he’s probably a good hire. The fact is, he has worked with young teams in Colorado before and gotten some good results there. His record isn’t great, but we all know how the deck can be stacked against a manager. I mean, look at the first team he managed in Colorado.
I don’t think I would’ve minded the club hiring Jeff Banister nearly as much as most people, but to be honest I’m happy to see them go outside the organization and given Hurdle’s association with two teams that have done a good job rebuilding with a strong young talent base in the last ten years (that would be the Rockies and his current-for-now employers the Rangers), I think he could be a good fit for the Pirates. There’s not really any way they could’ve hired Banister at this point and have that hiring be read as anything other than a fallback after waiting almost six weeks to make a decision.
It will be interesting to see how the coaching staff is filled out. The club obviously likes Banister and may want to see him on the big league staff, while they’ve already expressed an interest in bringing Ray Searage back as pitching coach. Hurdle doesn’t have any ties to anyone in the organization, though, so he may have other ideas in mind. Hurdle will be officially announced tomorrow, so I guess we’ll start to find out then.