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The Pirates brass is as mad as hell, but Clint Hurdle’s job is safe

Sep 17, 2012, 10:00 AM EDT

Los Angeles Dodgers v Pittsburgh Pirates Getty Images

The Pirates have laid an egg in the past month, and on Saturday owner Bob Nutting was expansive about the depth of his disappointment in the team:

Pirates owner Bob Nutting on Saturday called his team’s second-half collapse “incredibly, intensely frustrating” and vowed to do what’s necessary to prevent another.

“We’re all frustrated by and upset with the performance and seriously looking at what do we need to do both to finish the year appropriately and make sure this isn’t something we ever see again,” Nutting said.

But he went on to add that speculating on people’s jobs is not appropriate.  General Manager Neal Huntington was more to the point about Clint Hurdle’s job:

General manager Neal Huntington responded with a terse “No” when asked whether manager Clint Hurdle’s job is in jeopardy.

I don’t think Clint Hurdle is the best manager in all of creation, but I also don’t see how this is somehow all his fault either. The Pirates’ swoon has been a total team effort.

  1. firemarshal1 - Sep 17, 2012 at 10:09 AM

    Clint Hurdle over used his bull pen early in the year, along with over using his key players providing them no days off. That’s what happens…..

  2. danaking - Sep 17, 2012 at 10:12 AM

    This is a frustrating team. Two years ago they lost 105 games, and were moribund under John “Dead Man Walking” Russell. Had you asked any fan at the end of the 2010 season if they’d take a .500 record two and a half weeks from the end of the season in two years, they would have said, “Absolutely,” after a few seconds of looking at you like you were completely insane.

    To have them play as well in the first half last year, and the first 2/3 this year (just about the best team in baseball during June and July), then collapse as they have isn’t just frustrating; it’s downright confusing. Still, Hurdle has to be evaluated by the overall results, at least for the time being. If someone wants to criticize him for the late season failures, he deserves credit for the early season successes. This is still a team with holes, and for two months this summer, no one wanted to play them.

    They absolutely, positively have to get more men on base, though.

  3. myspaceyourface - Sep 17, 2012 at 10:21 AM

    This team collapsed two years in a row after significant trades were made. It’s like they don’t know how to handle change in the middle of the season.

    I am a long suffering Pirates fan and I fear we don’t even break the streak at this point.

    Hurdle needs to figure out a way to recapture some of their early season success and put this past 6 weeks behind them. Don’t know if it can be done at this point.

    • Brian Donohue - Sep 17, 2012 at 11:42 AM

      As with most things in life, it’s not a one-factor situation, it’s multi-determined. Some of it’s on Huntington, some on Clint, though I also think both are doing reasonably well. The Gaby acquisition caused problems, because Jones is better defensively at 1b than in RF and he’s had a good season hitting. The Snider deal came at a grave cost — a versatile and effective middle-late innings reliever (Lincoln), and meanwhile they haven’t really found a role, a place, for Snider yet.

      Some of the problem is developmental, a natural growing pains process. Marte is LF looks like a worthwhile commitment, but you have to deal with what it necessarily entails. Alvarez has shown remarkable signs of progress, but teams still respond to the pick-your-poison dilemma by walking Cutch to get to Pedro, and too often it still works.

      Another factor is change: even good changes take a while to work smoothly into the chemistry (see Angels, Dodgers, LA). Here, the pain that comes with patience must be endured. Barmes is an excellent SS who can develop into a .250 or so hitter, and that would be plenty given his D; Wandy will be a solid #2 or #3 starter once he settles in; Snider can become a valuable asset if they can find a place and a role for him and commit to it.

      Meanwhile, Cole will be arriving next year and could become the ace of the staff. Huntington’s task this winter will be middle relief to support the Grilli-Hammer combo at the end, adding another starter who can eat up innings; and maybe making some unpleasant decisions/admissions (that long-term commitment to Tabata ain’t working out) and dealing with necessary next steps on those. But their line these past 2 yrs. has crept upward, and they need to pay attention to other low-market clubs that have managed to succeed with challenges similar to theirs (see Oakland).

  4. frenchysplatediscipline - Sep 17, 2012 at 10:24 AM

    Maybe it was because of all the key moves they made at the deadline.

  5. mj1818 - Sep 17, 2012 at 10:53 AM

    I questioned getting rid of Lincoln and adding key parts like gaby Sanchez and chad qualls. I didn’t understand it at the time and still don’t.

    • danaking - Sep 17, 2012 at 11:33 AM

      Losing Lincoln hurt as the bridge between the starters–who, by and large, don;t go deep enough into games–and the bullpen, but Snider looks like he may be a keeper, and Toronto didn’t let him go cheap. Qualls adds nothing, but they wanted rid of McGehee, so the Yankees made them take Qualls. Sanchez can be a righ-handed first baseman with some pop, and all he cost was Gorkys Hernandez (who they had no plans for) and a comp draft pick.

      It appears the front office tried to make trades to help this year, while still keeping the long-term improvement in mind. (No aging erstwhile sluggers like D-Lee and Ludwick this year.) That’s a good plan, especially with a still-young team at key positions.

      The original point here is still true: they collapses both years after deadline deals were made. There needs to be an organizational investigation to figure out why.

  6. scotttheskeptic - Sep 17, 2012 at 11:12 AM

    Shouldn’t Bobby V. be available, oh say, 9pm, October3rd?

  7. yahmule - Sep 17, 2012 at 11:18 AM

    Clint Hurdle was so bad he made Colorado fans appreciate Jim Tracy, at least for a while…

  8. randygnyc - Sep 17, 2012 at 11:30 AM

    The pirates recent performances has been shocking. I’m afraid they’ll finish below .500 again this year, too. Has to be harsh for their fan base. I was saying that they had been playing over their heads, but the regression has affected every aspect of the team.

  9. Chip Caray's Eyebrows - Sep 17, 2012 at 11:35 AM

    Nutting seems like a more appropriate name for a male porn star.

  10. prosourcetalk - Sep 17, 2012 at 11:52 AM

    They have to get rid of Barmes. He blows. He’s not developing into shit, he’s 33 and has hit above .250 in one of the past 7 seasons, you idiot.

  11. hermitfool - Sep 17, 2012 at 11:58 AM

    Hurdle lost the Rockies clubhouse after too many boneheaded in-game moves, like sacrifice bunting in the first inning. Still he was always good with young players. Haven’t seen enough Pirate games to know if Hurdle is still bunting in the first inning.

    The Pittsburgh front office made two bad decisions in signing Barmes and Barajas. Over time those two offensive black holes would be enough to sink any offense not belonging to the Yankees or the Reds.

    Can anyone explain why the starting pitching went blewie all at once? Did the lack of offense finally get in their heads? Or were they simply pitching above their ability level earlier in the year and returned to mean? Just curious.

  12. brewcrewfan54 - Sep 17, 2012 at 3:34 PM

    This is probably a bit of an oversimpilization of the problem but basically the Pirates were getting awesome pitching out of guys you wouldn’t have expected it from while still not having much as far as offense after McCutchen. I don’t blame any fans for being disapointed but I think the Pirates are right where they should be with the roster they have.

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