November 2, 2010

Is Clint Hurdle The Pirates Guy?

The Pirates, conspicuously silent for two weeks, plan to interview Clint Hurdle for their open manager job.

Hurdle worked as the Texas Rangers hitting coach this year, but is more familiar from his eight years managing the Rockies. He had a losing record in seven of those years and compiled an overall record of 534-625. But in the one winning year, 2007, the Rockies advanced to the World Series by winning seven straight games in the postseason.

He must have been doing something right because the Rockies' four top starters that year were Jeff Francis, Aaron Cook, Josh Fogg, and Jason Hirsh. Reaching the playoffs, let alone the World Series, with that kind of rotation requires (a) some knowledge of how to manage a pitching staff, and (b) some knowledge of who Jason Hirsh even is.

Other than an irrational love of the intentional walk, Hurdle is a pretty sound tactician. He also is known for working well with young hitters - players including Troy Tulowitzki and Matt Holliday developed on his watch. There are also a few guys - Garrett Atkins is one - who all of a sudden couldn't hit once Hurdle was gone.

Obviously it seems like the Pirates are very interested in Hurdle, or they wouldn't have waited weeks for the Rangers to be eliminated in order to talk to him. I'll have an update if any other news comes out.

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