A few updates in the early stages of the manager search from Chuck Finder:
-There were reports on Twitter that Andy Van Slyke was at PNC Park and gave a “no comment” when asked if he was there to interview for the manager position. Finder reports that Van Slyke “unofficially” met with the Pirates, and informed them of his interest, not only in the manager role, but in a coaching position as well. A few quotes I loved from AVS:
“I think it would be absolutely arrogant for any manager to come in here and think he’s going to be the difference. [As if] by his mere presence, he could be the one to turn it around. I don’t care if Casey Stengel stepped out of the grave and walked into spring training, any manager would need a pitching staff with an ERA and numbers that [the Pirates’ staff] didn’t have this year. Everything begins and ends with pitching. Until that aspect improves dramatically … it’s an unfair expectation for anyone to expect different results here.”
That pretty much sums up my thoughts on managers. That’s why I don’t think Matt Walbeck deserved as much praise for winning with the outstanding pitching staff he had, and why I don’t think John Russell deserved as much blame for losing with the horrible pitching staff he had. It’s also why I think the Pirates need to add one external starter to the mix this off-season (in the same article, there’s a mention to Frank Coonelly’s MLB.com chat, where he says the team will add pitching, but actions speak louder than words). Van Slyke also had this to say on Eric Wedge:
“I can say this: When he’s got talent, he obviously knows how to win. Like any good manager, he’s had success. … When they traded away his talent [such as CC Sabathia, Cliff Lee and Victor Martinez], he suddenly wasn’t such a good manager. Which is an unfortunate reality in this business.”
Again, my thoughts exactly. Wedge was considered a good manager until the talent left. The talent left, and suddenly Wedge, who managed while Cleveland was a contender, was a bad manager.
-Bo Porter will be interviewing for the manager’s position. Porter has also interviewed for the Florida Marlins’ position in June. Porter was the third base coach and bench coach for the Arizona Diamondbacks this past season. He and Juan Samuel would qualify for MLB’s requirement for minority interviews.
-Phil Garner has also expressed interest, but the Pirates haven’t been in contact with him, and Garner doesn’t believe he will be a candidate for the job.
-So far Wedge is the only person who has officially interviewed.