No contract discussions yet for Pirates manager Hurdle, GM Huntington
BRADENTON, Fla. — After leading the Pirates to their most successful season in 21 years, manager Clint Hurdle has no guarantee he'll be with the team beyond 2014.
At least not yet.
Hurdle, who guided the Pirates into the playoffs last season, is under contract through this season with a club option for 2015. He is one of three major league managers not locked up for next year.
During a brief visit to spring training camp Wednesday, owner Bob Nutting said working out an extension for Hurdle — and for general manager Neal Huntington, whose deal also runs out after this season — is not a top priority.
“Having talked with both of them, I don't think that's the first topic on anybody's mind right now,” Nutting said. “There's so much work to get done for this team between now and Opening Day. We're early in spring training. It's not a time to have that discussion.”
That was not the case a year ago when, one week after the start of spring training, the Pirates gave Hurdle a one-year extension.
While Nutting met with reporters, the Atlanta Braves announced extensions for general manager Frank Wren and manager Fredi Gonzalez.
That left Hurdle, Ron Washington of the Texas Rangers and Ron Roenicke of the Milwaukee Brewers as the only big league managers without contract guarantees beyond this season.
“It's not important to me,” Hurdle said. “And the last thing I'm going to do is have any talk about it in the press. Zero. Absolutely none.”
Nutting indicated he is open to extending the contracts for Hurdle and Huntington.
“I have tremendous respect and affection for both Neal and Clint,” Nutting said. “What they've done for the organization in good and bad times really is tremendous, and I hope they're with the organization for a long time. My expectation is they're going to be critically important pieces of this organization as we go forward.”
Hurdle, 56, is beginning his fourth season with the Pirates. Since 1965, the only men to manage the club more than four seasons in a row are Chuck Tanner (1977-85), Jim Leyland (1986-96) and Lloyd McClendon (2001-05).
In June 2010, the Pirates admitted they had eight months earlier secretly given Huntington and then-manager John Russell extensions through 2011. Russell was fired after the 2010 season.
Huntington signed a three-year extension in September 2011.
“The only time I really think about my contract is when I'm asked about it,” Huntington said Wednesday. “It's not something I care to discuss publicly. I plan to be here a long time.”