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Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Pittsburgh Pirates fire general manager Neal Huntington

PITTSBURGH — Neal Huntington is out as the Pittsburgh Pirates executive vice president and general manager, the team has confirmed.

A statement from the team said he has been “relieved of his duties.”

Kevin Graves, current Pirates Assistant General Manager, will serve as Interim General Manager during the transition period, according to the team.

Will the last person associated with the 2019 Pirates please turn off the lights on your way out?

 

QLE Posted: October 29, 2019 at 12:09 AM | 17 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: fired, general manager, neal huntington, pirates

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   1. The Duke Posted: October 29, 2019 at 07:28 AM (#5895613)
He probably got fired for wanting to bring Hurdle back
   2. never forget: the pee tape is 57i66135 Posted: October 29, 2019 at 08:09 AM (#5895616)
he's only been GM for 13 years. surely, this firing is premature.
   3. asinwreck Posted: October 29, 2019 at 09:12 AM (#5895625)
You usually don't see a housecleaning in which the manager get fired, then the president, then the GM.
   4. jingoist Posted: October 29, 2019 at 09:39 AM (#5895630)
Now; if we could only figure out how to fire the owner........
I see the flashing of boobs gets more moments than firing boobs.
   5. jingoist Posted: October 29, 2019 at 09:40 AM (#5895631)
Comments, not moments. Fat fingers strike again.
   6. Rennie's Tenet Posted: October 29, 2019 at 09:50 AM (#5895636)
I think Nutting said in an interview that he started talking to people around the league during the August collapse. I'm guessing the GM is either in house or someone identified in those discussions.



   7. PreservedFish Posted: October 29, 2019 at 10:20 AM (#5895643)
So was he a good GM? It seems like a distant memory, but for a few years there the Pirates were good and were considered a cutting edge organization.
   8. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: October 29, 2019 at 10:36 AM (#5895646)
So was he a good GM? It seems like a distant memory, but for a few years there the Pirates were good and were considered a cutting edge organization.

Good is too much. Fair maybe?

He took quite a while to build them up to a competitor. They had a decent 3-year run, but they never seemed willing to go for it. Maybe the owners just wouldn't increase payroll.

The last few years have been bizarre. No obvious plan. The Archer trade was a huge head-scratcher.

I'll give him a B-.
   9. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: October 29, 2019 at 10:38 AM (#5895647)
So was he a good GM? It seems like a distant memory, but for a few years there the Pirates were good and were considered a cutting edge organization.


He's probably the best Pirates GM since Syd Thrift, though that isn't a particularly high bar.

When he took over, there weren't coherent organizational practices or philosophy, with coaches and development staff just kind of doing whatever the #### they wanted. So he deserves credit for at least getting everyone pulling in the same direction. And for a couple of years there, the team WAS cutting edge, with the sinkers and the defensive shifts. But the game changed and they got caught moving in the wrong direction: they emphasized contact hitters in the draft at a time when the game was emphasizing power, and they stuck to sinkers and pitching down at a point when the league was trending toward more breaking balls and the high strike. Also, they didn't draft particularly well, especially when Greg Smith was the scouting director, which cut their payroll-induced margin for error in roster construction down to basically nothing. And there seemed like there was a real lack of urgency at times w/r/t improving the margins of the roster (e.g. the shitshow that was the last couple of bullpen spots this year).

I think that in the balance he was an OK-ish GM with good and bad points, who was facing a harder-than-normal task resulting from the tire-fire situation he inherited and the team's financial limitations, and who also got a bit stale/complacent toward the end. The Pirates aren't going to succeed without above-average leadership, so I think that making a change is the right decision, but I also think that there's a good chance that the next GM will be worse than he was. Still, you have to shoot your shot.
   10. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: October 29, 2019 at 10:41 AM (#5895649)
The Archer trade was a huge head-scratcher.


The Archer trade was about goosing fan interest to push ticket sales. Attendance, which has never been very good, had totally collapsed, and trading for Archer temporarily energized the fan base through the end of the season without adding much to the ML payroll. Simple as that.
   11. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: October 29, 2019 at 10:49 AM (#5895655)
The Archer trade was about goosing fan interest to push ticket sales. Attendance, which has never been very good, had totally collapsed, and trading for Archer temporarily energized the fan base through the end of the season without adding much to the ML payroll. Simple as that.

OK, that's even worse than I thought.
   12. It's regretful that PASTE was able to get out Posted: October 29, 2019 at 10:54 AM (#5895656)
He took quite a while to build them up to a competitor. They had a decent 3-year run, but they never seemed willing to go for it. Maybe the owners just wouldn't increase payroll.


Bob Nutting is about 96% as bad as Jeff Loria. At no point was ownership ever willing to increase payroll by a dime. Nutting is and has always been explicit about that. Here's your budget (among the tiniest in MLB), if you spend more on the draft or coaching or whatever it comes out of your major league payroll, it will not increase under any circumstances, if you're successful I will pocket the extra money we make, if you're not I don't really give a #### because I'm printing money on revenue sharing anyway.

2013-2015 was a happy accident, and if the Pirates ever sniff .500 again while Nutting is alive, it will be likewise.
   13. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: October 29, 2019 at 11:13 AM (#5895663)
Bob Nutting is about 96% as bad as Jeff Loria.


I think that stretches it a bit. Nutting is definitely a tightwad, but the Pirates also do have legitimate financial constraints relative to a lot of their competitors. The team is always in the bottom half of the league in attendance, even in winning seasons, and ticket prices have consistently been average-to-below-average due to the relatively low local cost of living. The team's media rights deal that just expired was signed before the boom in the value of those rights, and was one of the least lucrative in baseball. The team doesn't own any of the stadium lots, and as such doesn't get any parking revenue. Etc.

Nutting has payroll pegged to gross revenue and won't spend past that threshold, but he's never sent out a roster that was as cheap as Loria's, and he's never used the team as a straight-up money funnel the way Loria (or, for that matter, late-stage McClatchy) did.
   14. PreservedFish Posted: October 29, 2019 at 11:19 AM (#5895666)
What an unfortunate surname.
   15. The usual palaver and twaddle (Met Fan Charlie) Posted: October 29, 2019 at 12:03 PM (#5895676)
He's gettin' Nuttin' f'r Christmas...
   16. Pirate Joe Posted: October 29, 2019 at 09:25 PM (#5895851)
You usually don't see a housecleaning in which the manager get fired, then the president, then the GM.


I think Nutting thought that firing Hurdle was going to be enough to appease the fan base, and a couple weeks later when he realized that it wasn't he came to a "mutual agreement" with Coonelly for him to leave and thought that would be enough to appease the fan base. And when he realized that hadn't done it either then he fired the only other bullet he had left in his gun and fired Huntington.

Now we'll see what happens in a couple weeks. Will he realize that the fans are still pissed off and do something more, or will he go back to counting his money in the vault at his home, Scrooge McDuck style? Probably the latter.

   17. McCoy Posted: October 29, 2019 at 10:38 PM (#5895920)
You don't go through management like that because of the fan base and nobody is going to buy a ticket to go see the pirates because a front office exec got fired.

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