The Pirates interviewed their fourth and fifth candidates to replace John Russell today, officially talking to Ken Macha and Jeff Bannister. Macha getting an interview really surprises me; this same front office wasn’t interested in him at all three years ago before they hired John Russell and I didn’t think anything about Macha’s tenure would’ve changed the front office’s minds sufficiently to bring him in for an interview.
Bannister, meanwhile, has been in the Pirates’ system for a long time as a roving minor league instructor, minor league manager, and interim bench coach this year. If the Pirates make an internal hire, I’m almost positive it will be Bannister. Given his history with the young guys on the team and about to come up, I think hiring him would make a lot of sense. I don’t know much about him personality-wise or philosophy-wise, but I think if I were ranking the candidates so far I’d have him up top with Wedge, Macha a bit behind those two, and Gibbons way, way last with Porter somewhere in the middle, mostly because I’m not familiar with him at all. Looks like my initial guess about this process being quick was off base, though, so we may have several more names before a final decision’s made.