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  • Who Would You Hire?

    I realize that, no matter who the Pirates hire to run the front office and the dugout, Pittsburgh will struggle to win consistently unless ownership changes. That said, who would be your ideal candidate as the new GM? As the new manager? And who do you think they will actually hire for those positions?
    "It is a simple matter to erect a Hall of Fame, but difficult to select the tenants." -- Ken Smith
    "I am led to suspect that some of the electorate is very dumb." -- Henry P. Edwards
    "You have a Hall of Fame to put people in, not keep people out." -- Brian Kenny
    "There's no such thing as a perfect ballot." -- Jay Jaffe

  • #2
    Might as well hire Wiz Khalifa and Antonio Brown.
    "No matter how great you were once upon a time — the years go by, and men forget,” - W. A. Phelon in Baseball Magazine in 1915. “Ross Barnes, forty years ago, was as great as Cobb or Wagner ever dared to be. Had scores been kept then as now, he would have seemed incomparably marvelous.”

    Comment


    • #3
      The Pirates hired Travis Williams as the new team president. This article from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette implies that Bob Nutting had already effectively hired Williams before giving Frank Coonelly his walking papers. From what I've read of Williams, he is an attorney who worked his way up to COO of the NHL's Pittsburgh Penguins from 2008 forward. He has a previous relationship with Nutting due to his having performed legal assistance for Nutting when the latter purchased the franchise from prior owner Kevin McClatchy. Apparently the position of team president will continue not being the head of baseball operations for the Pirates (as it has become for so many other teams).

      That leaves the GM and the manager yet to be replaced.

      Kevan Graves, the Assistant GM under Neal Huntington has been Interim GM since Huntington's dismissal on October 28. Graves is running the front office until a permanent replacement is found. Graves was interviewed by the Giants for their GM position before they settled on Scott Harris (previously with the Chicago Cubs). That Farhan Zaidi wanted to interview Graves is a compliment to his abilities so it would appear he will manage things day-to-day competently, pending whatever directives he receives from Nutting and Williams, of course.

      Nevertheless, a permanent replacement must be found and the only name I've seen connected with that search (besides Graves, himself) is former Boston Red Sox GM Ben Cherington (currently with the Toronto Blue Jays.

      Managerial candidates are already being reached out to by Williams (not Graves) apparently, so one may be selected without input from the next GM.

      As always, we won't know more until it happens.
      "It is a simple matter to erect a Hall of Fame, but difficult to select the tenants." -- Ken Smith
      "I am led to suspect that some of the electorate is very dumb." -- Henry P. Edwards
      "You have a Hall of Fame to put people in, not keep people out." -- Brian Kenny
      "There's no such thing as a perfect ballot." -- Jay Jaffe

      Comment


      • #4
        I moved away from the Pittsburgh area about 3 years ago, and have lost close contact with things related to the team. I don't want to sound like the typical Pittsburgher and blame everything on Nutting, but I do believe that management is put in very difficult positions by him. Nutting has consistently been among the lowest spenders since he gained ownership of the team. GMs are forced to do almost everything well to create opportunities for success. Overall, I thought Huntington did a pretty good job, given the tools he was provided. He had some failures- the big ones that come to mind are Alvarez- who I incorrectly thought would be a big time, long-term power hitter, trading Cole while he still had control, and perhaps the Archer deal, where Meadows and Glasnow both appear to be on the way to success. But, he also made a number of good deals, and drafted some quality players.

        The problem is walking the tightrope and drafting well, developing well, trading well, and being a bit lucky- with little margin for error. Whoever takes this job will have their hands full- except with money. It will be tough.

        Comment


        • #5
          It appears Ben Cherington is the next GM.
          "It is a simple matter to erect a Hall of Fame, but difficult to select the tenants." -- Ken Smith
          "I am led to suspect that some of the electorate is very dumb." -- Henry P. Edwards
          "You have a Hall of Fame to put people in, not keep people out." -- Brian Kenny
          "There's no such thing as a perfect ballot." -- Jay Jaffe

          Comment


          • #6
            I would've liked Sig Mejdal as the GM and Girardi as manager lol

            Comment


            • #7
              Sig would certainly have taken the job, but Girardi? I think not. I also doubt that Nutting would have been willing to pay top dollar for a "name" manager like that.
              "It is a simple matter to erect a Hall of Fame, but difficult to select the tenants." -- Ken Smith
              "I am led to suspect that some of the electorate is very dumb." -- Henry P. Edwards
              "You have a Hall of Fame to put people in, not keep people out." -- Brian Kenny
              "There's no such thing as a perfect ballot." -- Jay Jaffe

              Comment


              • #8
                I would be surprised if the manager is someone with significant prior managing experience (at the MLB level).
                "It is a simple matter to erect a Hall of Fame, but difficult to select the tenants." -- Ken Smith
                "I am led to suspect that some of the electorate is very dumb." -- Henry P. Edwards
                "You have a Hall of Fame to put people in, not keep people out." -- Brian Kenny
                "There's no such thing as a perfect ballot." -- Jay Jaffe

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Chadwick View Post
                  I would be surprised if the manager is someone with significant prior managing experience (at the MLB level).
                  How do you feel about Cherrngton an Shelton?

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Stieb37 View Post
                    How do you feel about Cherrngton an Shelton?
                    I'm not familiar with Shelton. For a manager, I think communication is the most necessary skill; someone who can absorb data and initiatives from the front office and communicate those to the players, getting buy-in from the clubhouse. A good communicator can overcome a lack of experience in other areas. I am also keen, for a rebuilding job (which is what Pittsburgh is) that the managerial hire be someone with a goodly amount of managerial (not just coaching) experience, minor leagues are fine. In fact, minor league managing success demonstrates (to my way of thinking) an ability to communicate and work with young players, which is precisely what a rebuilding manager will be doing. I'd love to have an analytics-friendly guy like Gabe Kapler, A.J. Hinch or Joe Espada, for example, but I'll prioritize what I said above and look for someone with that resume who is open to learning analytics. I'm thinking of guys like Mike Sarbaugh, Jared Sandberg or Trey Hillman. So Shelton would not have been my choice to necessarily interview, but no one included me in the interview process so I couldn't tell you what about him impresses me or not. I'll have to judge Shelton on his first MLB managing gig now that he'll be more visible.

                    As for Cherington, even though he wasn't around for the 2018 championship, that was with the core nucleus that he drafted, signed and traded for. Cherington built two World Championships through a great draft-and-develop model. I think he was an excellent choice for Pittsburgh, particularly if looking for someone who had done it once before. Pittsburgh isn't going to necessarily tempt some of the top "future" GMs around the league while Cherington only left Boston because they hired Dombrowski and Cherington didn't want to be demoted to #2 in favor of a "free agent" executive. I don't blame him for looking elsewhere for a place where he could prove himself as the #1 guy in baseball ops. Given their owner's unwillingness to spend big bucks, I think you'd have to practically have a Tampa-esque operation in Pittsburgh for routine playoff appearances, but Cherington could certainly fashion something like that, building on what's already there and adding his own touches.

                    In short, I'm confident in Cherington's success in Pittsburgh, but hopeful of Shelton's. What do you think?
                    "It is a simple matter to erect a Hall of Fame, but difficult to select the tenants." -- Ken Smith
                    "I am led to suspect that some of the electorate is very dumb." -- Henry P. Edwards
                    "You have a Hall of Fame to put people in, not keep people out." -- Brian Kenny
                    "There's no such thing as a perfect ballot." -- Jay Jaffe

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Chadwick View Post
                      I'm not familiar with Shelton. For a manager, I think communication is the most necessary skill; someone who can absorb data and initiatives from the front office and communicate those to the players, getting buy-in from the clubhouse. A good communicator can overcome a lack of experience in other areas. I am also keen, for a rebuilding job (which is what Pittsburgh is) that the managerial hire be someone with a goodly amount of managerial (not just coaching) experience, minor leagues are fine. In fact, minor league managing success demonstrates (to my way of thinking) an ability to communicate and work with young players, which is precisely what a rebuilding manager will be doing. I'd love to have an analytics-friendly guy like Gabe Kapler, A.J. Hinch or Joe Espada, for example, but I'll prioritize what I said above and look for someone with that resume who is open to learning analytics. I'm thinking of guys like Mike Sarbaugh, Jared Sandberg or Trey Hillman. So Shelton would not have been my choice to necessarily interview, but no one included me in the interview process so I couldn't tell you what about him impresses me or not. I'll have to judge Shelton on his first MLB managing gig now that he'll be more visible.

                      As for Cherington, even though he wasn't around for the 2018 championship, that was with the core nucleus that he drafted, signed and traded for. Cherington built two World Championships through a great draft-and-develop model. I think he was an excellent choice for Pittsburgh, particularly if looking for someone who had done it once before. Pittsburgh isn't going to necessarily tempt some of the top "future" GMs around the league while Cherington only left Boston because they hired Dombrowski and Cherington didn't want to be demoted to #2 in favor of a "free agent" executive. I don't blame him for looking elsewhere for a place where he could prove himself as the #1 guy in baseball ops. Given their owner's unwillingness to spend big bucks, I think you'd have to practically have a Tampa-esque operation in Pittsburgh for routine playoff appearances, but Cherington could certainly fashion something like that, building on what's already there and adding his own touches.

                      In short, I'm confident in Cherington's success in Pittsburgh, but hopeful of Shelton's. What do you think?
                      I agree with what you said and according to D.K. Pittsburgh Sports Cherington and President Travis Williams were given certain guarantees by Nutting. What these were I'm not sure but with all the Pirates fans unhappy with Nutting maybe it has to do with a payroll as large as Milwaukees. Or they said if we need a Kendrys Morales to get there you better let us sign him lol.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Stieb37 View Post
                        I agree with what you said and according to D.K. Pittsburgh Sports Cherington and President Travis Williams were given certain guarantees by Nutting. What these were I'm not sure but with all the Pirates fans unhappy with Nutting maybe it has to do with a payroll as large as Milwaukees. Or they said if we need a Kendrys Morales to get there you better let us sign him lol.
                        Hmmm. Well, Morales is out since he just announced his retirement. *wink*

                        I've made the trip to visit PNC Park and it's the best of any of 10 or so that I've been to. The customer service was over-and-above, the fans were friendly as all get-out, it was a fantastic experience, particularly for someone made to feel at home even though I was wearing the visiting team's jersey. We were in the city all day, too, and the buzz throughout Pittsburgh was both electric and tangible. (This was September 2013.) It was so much fun to get caught up in the vibe. Very happy for the city, but like the Reds' little run around the same time, those modest successes are an island in a sea of mediocrity for the past half-century. It's too bad it wasn't parlayed into a deeper or longer run. Great place to watch a ballgame!
                        "It is a simple matter to erect a Hall of Fame, but difficult to select the tenants." -- Ken Smith
                        "I am led to suspect that some of the electorate is very dumb." -- Henry P. Edwards
                        "You have a Hall of Fame to put people in, not keep people out." -- Brian Kenny
                        "There's no such thing as a perfect ballot." -- Jay Jaffe

                        Comment

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