Rosenthal: Clint Hurdle and Neal Huntington Expected to Sign Extensions

According to Ken Rosenthal this afternoon, both manager Clint Hurdle and GM Neal Huntington are expected to sign extensions with the Pittsburgh Pirates before the season ends. Rosenthal said that sources indicate that the jobs of both Hurdle and Huntington are safe despite the current record, and this being the last guaranteed years on their contracts, an extension is likely to happen within the next 3 1/2 months.

Huntington has been around with the Pirates since 2007 and Hurdle since 2010. They combined to help break the 20-year losing streak in 2013, while getting the Pirates to the playoffs for three consecutive seasons. Those good feelings have obviously carried over into now, as they have dealt with numerous injuries each of the last two seasons, along with the Starling Marte/Jung-Ho Kang issues this year.

Early this spring, owner Bob Nutting had this comment about the two of them, which seems to backup Rosenthal’s sources:

“Neal and Clint are both really strong, really good. I love working with them. I’m very comfortable with them. I think they’re very comfortable with us and the organization. The contact extension is not something that’s top-of-mind for me. It’s not an issue at this point. But they are tremendous talents who I love.”

  • Anyone think Huntington is no better than littlefield, needs their head examined…I’m not the biggest NH guy, but I’m also not an idiot.

    • My question (as I indicate below) is why the hell is the question being asked/answered. I agree with you but it really diverts the focus which should be how good a job has NH done during his tenure?

      I think the most important job of a GM is drafting/development and I see little on NH’s record to says he has outperformed in that area.

      I mean yeah.. he’s a lot better at it than Littlefield. The guy who murdered only 2 people is probably less of a threat to society than Ted Bundy but that doesn’t mean I’m OK with him as a neighbor.

      • So, littlefield is Ted Bundy and Neal is OJ Simpson?

        Quite a bit of Neal’s work is TBD…

        • LOL! Not saying NH is necessarily OJ in this reference but the larger point is I don’t think he should be compared to Ted Bundy in making some sort of analysis. Let’s leave Littlefield out of the equation. He probably is one of the worst GMs in any major sport over the last 100 years- I fail to see why he should be a barometer for anything.

          • Certain folks on here saying NH is no better than DL….that’s what I was responding to. I mean NH put the bucs back on the map and the last 6 years they at least made it interesting in some capacity. I guess if you’re looking for a reference point – look at other small market gms

          • GM for the TB bucs in the 80’s might challenge your claim.

  • Seriously why in the hell is anyone asking if the system is better now than when NH took over? That is like asking whether your current computer processor is faster/more efficient than it was 10 years ago. It’s a stupid method to analyze the virtue/quality of the subject in question.

    I sure as hell hope this organization is better now than when NH took over. Being better than it was then by no means validates that NH should continue to keep his job.

  • Clint is a nice guy but his run here should end. Sure he lost Kang and Marte but what has he done about bad fielding and sloppy base running that has been prevalent this year? I think he wasted Hanson and doesn’t seem to let rookies play enough to prove themselves, except for Glasnow and Kuhl where he had no choice. this team needs a rebuild and I do not think he is the man for that job.

  • I get that this news might seem ill timed but honestly it’s the right thing to do. The Pirates have been hit with some serious bad luck this year via injuries, suspensions and some poor play in general but these 2 ar least deserve a chance to see thus organization through a turnaround. If things don’t improve though over the next 365 days or so the it’ll be time for new leadership IMO.

  • Why is this information coming out now? IMO it’s because the Pirates look to be in a tailspin and Mr. Nutting wants to do what he can to avoid a complete collapse. How do I define complete collapse? Both the players and the fans just give up on Hurdle, Huntington and this season.

    No matter how well we draft, the draft isn’t going to help us for several years. Our tradable pieces, even if we found takers for all of them, would be unlikely to bring a return which would turn this season around. It’s reasonable to fear that we may never see Kang again; and as for Marte, who knows? Our rookies remain to prove themselves. We can all bemoan the incredible string of adverse developments/bad luck the Pirates have had to contend with, but part of management’s responsibility is to be prepared to deal with bad luck. It doesn’t look like we are so prepared.

    IMO, the subtext to this leak is “This is your last chance boys.”

    • I thought the same thing. Why now. To kick us when we are down with the Hurdle news.

  • Well, looking at this from a player perspective, they are buying low on Huntington and Hurdle as far as performance. I know the Pirates are suffering from so many players underperforming and injuries and suspensions and guys not being able to get into country, but these two guys are largely responsible for taking a 98 win team and turning it into a flaming shit pile. I’m not saying it can’t be turned around but I wouldn’t reward the guys now. Imagine any other industry rewarding complete failure in results.

  • BucsStopHere
    June 11, 2017 10:54 am

    I see the Dodgers, Cardinals, Astros, Brewers, Marlins, Yankees, Red Sox, Mets, etc.. continually develop better players better and at a faster rate. Huntington turned things around but he’s above average at best without drafting one superstar.
    2007 Daniel Moskos
    2008 Pedro Alvarez
    2009 Tony Sanchez
    Missing on these first three is the reason the Pirates aren’t continually dominating.

    • Moskos was the final draft for Littlefield. The pick of Moskos was largely the final straw for him.

      • Saw Moskos throw an inning of relief last week in the
        independent senior citizens league. Has a WHIP of
        less than 1.000. At least three scouts had him on
        their guns.

        Thanks for the tip Foo… Nice place to watch a game.

  • BuccosFanStuckinMD
    June 11, 2017 9:16 am

    Bad news, especially regarding the GM position…more poor decision making to come….

  • Everyone who is saying the Pirates aren’t better off now than when NH came in in 2007 clearly wasn’t following the Pirates back then.

    • Bill Harvey
      June 11, 2017 9:08 am

      I keep readying this same quote from multiple people, but not one of them has given me proof.

      • Our farm system was about as barren as it can get back then.

        • Bill Harvey
          June 11, 2017 9:25 am

          And just how loaded is it right now? Back then we had Cutch and Walker. Right now, we have Meadows(maybe) and Keller(maybe), after them, not too much. Personally, I would not be shocked if Luplow turns out to be the best major leaguer out of our entire minor league system, and that is not necessarily an endorsement of him.

        • There was a farm system back then?

      • Just as a quick summary, the top 10 when Huntington took over:

        1. Andrew McCutchen, of
        2. Neil Walker, 3b
        3. Steve Pearce, 1b/of
        4. Brad Lincoln, rhp
        5. Daniel Moskos, lhp
        6. Shelby Ford, 2b
        7. Jamie Romak, of
        8. Brian Bixler, ss/2b
        9. Duke Welker, lhp
        10. Brad Corley, of

        That’s all the proof that is needed.

        • Cutch, walker and Pearce only good for about 70 Fwar so far in their careers. I mean that is peanuts compared to what we should expect from meadows, Newman and keller

          • John W….those 3 names have yet to play an inning in the majors. Will they live up to their hype or be like Polanco, Bell (so far) and Glasnow (so far)?

            But, I do agree with the overall sentiment that the org was indeed barren when NH took over.

            • I was being facetious Foo. I was pointing out that as barren as people claim the system was NH inherited a MVP player who contributed 40 WAR and a very underrated piece in NW who has been good for over 20 WAR in his career. Has NH drafted/developed anyone who projects to be as good as Walker let alone Cutch? Probably Cole with the first pick in the draft(currently 13 WAR). Taillon and everyone else has a long way to go before 20 WAR as you never know when injuries or sudden decline will raise their ugly head.

            • Here’s a not so fun fact Foo. Glasnow’s bat has contributed as much to the Pirates offense this year(.4 fwar) as Polanco and Bell have together in 400 PAs

          • The focus is more on the next seven players, who have combined for a -0.8 fWAR in their careers.

        • Bill Harvey
          June 12, 2017 7:51 pm

          Compared to the current top 10, I would take Cutch and Walker over the current top 10 combined.

      • The question shouldn’t be whether or not NH has done a better job than the absurdly incompetent Littlefield. In my mind the most important thing to analyze in NH’s tenure is the scouting and development over the last 10 years because this is the lifesource of a small market team. And I hardly see anything to suggest he is adept at this part of the game.

        Making shrewd veteran acquisistions…. yeah he’s had some great success there(thought I hardly think this is a sustainable plan going forward). But as far as young controllable talent that is producing I don’t see a whole lot of it.

      • Who needs statistical proof when you have personal memories of Derek Bell’s “Operation Shutdown”, Oliver Perez or Esteban Loaiza being the best pitcher your team employs for roughly a ten year span, or the inaugural rule 5 draft?

  • Why wouldn’t Huntington want to look at other opportunities? He is strapped by a paltry $100m payroll while his contemporaries have so much more to work with.

    Nutting is maniacally laughing all the way to the bank.

  • You can’t just dismiss the 3 yr playoff run because of the current season…

  • Wondering if the FO has soured on Tom Prince? Prince has been pretty bad with game decisions in his limited time as skipper when Clint has excused himself early. I could see Cora leapfrogging Prince in another year.

    Oddly, even giving Hurdle one more year tells me Nutting believes there’s a window. There would be zero reason for this to be even a remote consideration if the thought process was tearing down and rebuilding.

  • I like Clint Hurdle and don’t mind at all his extension. Certainly we’ve had some duds before him after Leyland. But NH — sorry I think a change was due. He’s done some good things but just not enough. I think this year in particular is really exposing the lack of talent his team has brought into the organization. The team is closer to a total sell-off than it is the playoffs. Its going in the wrong direction. And I just do not agree with his philosophy to chug along and hope/pray that the stars and planets align every once and a while for this team to actually contend while crying about unfairness of the system. Sure there are inequities but you can’t hide behind that all the time.

  • This just in: Biagio Wallace has committed suicide…hanging by spaghetti.

  • I’m sure this will be greeted well.

  • Please no not Hurdle!!!!!

  • mike_carlini66
    June 11, 2017 2:48 am

    Extended based off of what? This organization is in shambles right now. They had a 3 year run and we are going on a second consecutive losing season. This is the work of both of these individuals! If I was as inconsistent at my job as these two I would get fired. Only in Pittsburgh!

    • I don’t think that the organization is in shambles. I believe that the biggest reason the 2017 season is lost is due to Kang and Marte. You can’t blame N.H. and C.H. for the selfish, irresponsible, immature, downright stupid behavior of those two players. Also, given the limited payroll to work with, who do you suggest bringing in as a general manager and manager that would do any better? With Kang and Marte in the lineup from opening day, and 10 to 15 million dollars more in payroll to work with and I really think that we are having an entirely, vastly different conversation right now.

      • Well, having to start Glasnow and Kohl, putting Watson in the closer role and Cutch/Cole playing well below their career norms certainly didn’t help either.

        🙂

        • You are correct, hence my assertion that 10 to 15, maybe 20 million dollars more of payroll would be a huge help. That way, N.H. could have gone out and either traded for established pitching talent, or signed some via free agency. As it is, not having the operating capital to do so, he had no other choice but to give young players like Kuhl and Glasnow a shot. You can’t have it both ways.
          As far as Cole goes, he was doing fine up until about four starts ago. Regarding Cutch, it is entirely possible, if not probable, that his numbers would be better, and out of the number three spot in the order, if he had Kang and Marte in the lineup to offer some protection. As it is and has been since opening day, the absence of Kang and Marte have impacted the pitches that Cutch will see. There absence has also overextended the bench as well.

      • Agree completely. NH is not responsible for their actions. Also is not responsible for the poor seasons by Cole, Cutch, and Watson. Also not responsible for Taillon’s cancer. He has generally done a good job. The organization certainly is NOT in shambles.

    • If people complained everyday about your job performance even when excelling and the peers in your field say you do excellent work…you’d probably quit. So I guess it’s damned if you do, damned if you don’t in your situation.

  • Huntington and Hurdle: booyah m..’s

  • Too early.

    Revisit this September 1.

  • Well, NH has done more good than bad. Not sure now is the time to give Clint a pat on the back.

    • Give Clint Hurdle a team full of 30+ year old veterans and he is right at home. Ask him to teach and further develop young prospects at the MLB level and he leaves much to be desired. CH is not going to change and to extend him is ridiculous.

      Joey Cora was promoted from AA to the Pirates Coaching Staff for what?
      The Pirates hired him and promoted him for his ability to communicate and work with younger ballplayers – sort of similar to Joe Maddon, Bud Black, and many others.

      There will never be a better time for the Pirates to make this move. The roster of the Pirates will undergo many changes over the next few years and that would be best handled by a Manager who can work with the young prospects who will be promoted to take the places of veterans such as Freese, Jaso, Stewart, Mercer, Harrison, McCutchen, Cervelli, Cole, Watson, and you may even add Marte and Kang.

      • Or maybe those younguns’ weren’t what we thought they were?
        Of yesterday’s starting 8 only that wunderkind, Gregory Polanco was below a .700 OPS.

        Glasnow – Disappointment
        Kohl – Disappointment
        Polanco – Disappointment
        Bell – Nice OPS and defense, but his average is far below what we thought it would be.

        Only Frazier has been worth the hype so far.

        • Polanco is the only one who you really can complain about. The rest have less than 1 year experience at MLB level. Everyone needs to calm down and understand what is going on.

          • Bill Harvey
            June 11, 2017 9:21 am

            The team is losing, and looking bad in doing so. Our top prospects look bad at the major league level, outside of a SSS for Taillon.

          • which is why I put “so far”. Bell, Kuhl and TG could all become above average.

        • michael schalke
          June 11, 2017 10:36 am

          Their careers are not over my friend.

        • Yeah that ninth round selection Kuhl has been a real disappointment…bc I mean, how many 9th round picks come with such lofty fan expectations

  • I’m not entirely sure how I feel about this. Despite the 3 year winning streak, can anyone really say this organization is significantly better today than it was the day Huntington took over? There is probably more talent at the major league level, and there are some decent prospects, but nothing just screams better.

    • I get what you’re saying but in September of 2007 that organization was a dumpster fire. It’s easy to look at the disappointments of Cole, Polanco and Glasnow and get dejected but NH has moved this team in the right way farm, draft and upwards.

    • yes it is

    • terrygordon30
      June 10, 2017 11:07 pm

      The organization was garbage when NH took over. Drafting was poor. Trading was poor. Planning was poor. Minor league prospects were poor. NH has his faults, but things are way, way better than they were.

      • Was it really? Cutch, Walker, and Lincoln were all in the minor league system. Duke, Maholm, Gorzelanny, Snell and Burnett had all recently been promoted to the majors. The lineup featured Bay, Nady, McLouth, LaRoche, Freddy Sanchez and Jack Wilson. So please explain to me how the current roster is so much better.

        • What a pitching staff that was! All Cy Young candidates.

          • Bill Harvey
            June 11, 2017 9:03 am

            Better than the one we started this season with. Duke and Maholm at the time were thought to be #2/3 type starters. Snell had us all hoping he could be a top of the rotation starter(kind of like Glasnow). Gorzelanny was a solid #4. Sure they all crapped down their respective legs, but at the time I had the same hope in them that I have in our current pitching staff. If you say you didn’t have hope in them, you are lying.

        • Only recognizable names at AA Altoona in 2007 (to even hard-core Bucs fans) were Steve Barthmaier, Yoslan Herrera and Shelby Ford.

          At High-A Lynchburg there was nobody who made a career in MLB. Nobody.

          In AAA Indy, after Cutch and Walker, you had Brian Bullington, JVB, Jesse Chavez, Bixler, Eldred and Don Kelly. We even had Victor Zambrano as a reclamation project.

          It was bad. Very, very bad.

        • I think this is a case of rosy hindsight… none of the pitchers you list were anything more than back end guys or relievers and while i do think that 07 team may have been closer to breakthrough than some give credit for, the 17 squad has a lot of good players as well, and im not just saying players with potential. 3 impact rookie bats in the lineup right now suggest there is hope for the system to keep producing hitters and i personally would have loved for a Jameson taillon or an Ivan Nova during the paul maholm days…i agree that NH may get a little more credit than he deserves but it’s a crazy stretch to suggest the organization was in better shape 10 yrs ago

    • Bill Harvey
      June 11, 2017 1:44 am

      I said that, yep I am that guy, thecrow is me. I meant, the major league product is bad, I don’t care why, or about potential, the product is bad. The minor league system is lacking impact talent outside of one or two people. The illusion is that the organization is significantly better, however, the results, to this point, tell a different story.

      • The product really isn’t bad at the major league level. Tons of talent. Bad decision making by Hurdle and company. If Tony Watson was removed from Closers role a couple weeks ago, coming out of the Baltimore series the Pirates would have been 30-29. Which would be pretty damn good considering what they have gone through this year.

        • Bill Harvey
          June 11, 2017 9:17 am

          Do you have proof that any outcome would have been different? The likelihood is that it would have been, but just saying it doesn’t make it so. The product at the major league level is 8 games below .500, that is bad. There are only 4 teams with worse records, that also, is bad. The teams “ace” pitcher has an ERA over 4.00 and his peripherals look even worse. Their best hitter to date is a guy that almost every fan wanted to be traded for a bag of balls during the offseason.

          I am not saying that there is no talent at the major league level, there is, but the product NH and CH continue to run out there on a nightly bases is bad, and that really can’t be disputed.

    • Significantly better situation than from 1993 to 2007. It’s pretty easy to see. When you lost in the Littlefield years, their farm system was complete garbage. No hope for next year. The Pirates now have a solid group of young players/prospects. Not all of them will workout, however the organization is a lot more hopeful than years past. I think people forget how young this team actually is and how little experience this next wave of players actually has. The Bell’s, Kuhl’s, Glasnow’s, Frazier’s all still learning. I like this next group a lot as they have amence talent, they just need to get experience and figure it all out. Doesn’t help when core players Marte and Jung Ho are out and Polanco and Cole haven’t lived up to expectations yet. But even in terms of Polanco and Cole they are both under the Age of 26. If you look at MLB players they normally don’t “bust out” until age 26 and 27 seasons.

  • John Ciccotelli
    June 10, 2017 10:24 pm

    Good news

    • Agreed. In spite of the current struggles I feel that keeping them is the right decision. They’ve turned the Pirate ship around to be relevant again and continuity is important.

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