It was announced on Monday that the Pittsburgh Pirates have extended the contract of manager Clint Hurdle through the 2014 season with an option for 2015, according the Pittsburgh Post-Tribune.
While fans of the Pirates haven’t had much to cheer for in the past 20 years, this is something that I think Pirates fans should be a little excited about. There are many reasons why the Pirates should at least finish over the .500 mark for the first time in over 20 years.
With very talented pitchers like A.J. Burnett, Wandy Rodriguez, and newly acquired guys like Francisco Liriano, Russell Martin to go along with guys like Pedro Alvarez, Jose Tabata, Starling Marte and the face of the franchise Andrew McCutchen, the Pirates may have finally found a winning formula that just might get them over the hump this season. If there is anything that Pirates have never had, it’s pitching. But the 2013 season bodes well for the Pirates if the pitchers can stay healthy and the hitting doesn’t fall apart like it did down the stretch for them.
But there is something that Pirates never have really had during the 20 year sub-.500 streak they encountered–consistency at the manager spot.
Since 1992, the last time the Pirates had a winning season, they have had seven managers take a turn to try and “right the ship” if you will. But the only one that has given the Pirates any hope at getting the Pirates back to what they once were has been Clint Hurdle.
Although Hurdle has a career managing mark below .500, the Pirates have been in contention the past two years he has been there. But, as is the case with most young teams, they flamed out after the All-Star break and never made it back over .500. On the bright side, they only finished four games below .500 in 2012–the closest they’ve been to .500 since 1999.
It seems like the Pirates’ organization likes the direction Hurdle has this team going and made a very smart decision in bring him back for a few more years. With patience and trust in Hurdle to manage this team, the Pirates could be making some noise for many years to come.
Follow Brad Stiene on Twitter @bs_rant1