Report: Clint Hurdle will return to manage Pirates in 2020
In the wake of a 91-loss season, Pittsburgh Pirates manager Clint Hurdle told Stephen Nesbitt of The Athletic he has been assured by team officials that he will return next season, his 10th with the organization.
But while speaking to several reporters Wednesday night after the 4-2 victory against the Chicago Cubs, he was much less definitive. He said he wants to return as manager, but he was reluctant to discuss his job status beyond that desire.
“Oh, geez, let’s talk about the game first,” he said at the outset of his postgame news conference.
When he did discuss the future, he said he has had conversations about it with general manager Neal Huntington.
“Every conversation I’ve had with Neal is how we come back and get better,” Hurdle said. “My mind says I want to come back. I plan on coming back. The opportunity for us to improve is important to me as well as everybody I’ve had conversations with.
“My intent and desire is to manage this team next year. I don’t want to misrepresent. I plan on being back. The conversations we’ve had, Neal and I are planning for the future all along those ways.”
Asked if he received assurances from Huntington, he said, “You know what? I’m just going to pass on all that because it’s taken its own little life story here.”
Pressed further about who might have told him he was coming back, Hurdle referred to his previous statement, saying, “That’s what I got for you.”
Asked by another reporter to identify “this mystery person,” Hurdle repeated, “That’s what I got for you.”
Earlier in the evening, Huntington issued a statement that offered no clarity.
“As we have in the past, we will publicly address any personnel decisions at the end of the season.” The Pirates have four games remaining in the season, which ends Sunday.
Meanwhile, Hurdle and Huntington have two years remaining on contracts they signed in 2017, which is likely a factor in their favor.
The negatives about this season are obvious. The Pirates (67-91) will finish last in the National League Central after five losing streaks of between seven and nine games — one in every month, except May, since the start of the season. They were 2 1/2 games out of first place at the All-Star break before losing 24 of their next 28 games.
Hurdle, 62, has a career managerial record of 1,267-1,344, including eight seasons with the Colorado Rockies. He is 733-719 with the Pirates, with five losing seasons among his nine with the team. If he returns, he will be second only to the Cleveland Indians’ Terry Francona in terms of victories among active managers. The San Francisco Giants’ Bruce Bochy is the leader, but he is retiring at the end of the season.
But this is Hurdle’s worst season with the team. In his first year in Pittsburgh in 2011, the Pirates lost 90 games after Hurdle inherited a club that had lost between 94 and 105 in each of the previous six seasons. By 2013, the Pirates started a string of three consecutive playoff appearances, but this will be their fourth consecutive season without a postseason berth.
This season has been littered with trouble, some of it out of Hurdle’s control, including injuries to ace Jameson Taillon, catcher Francisco Cervelli and outfielder Gregory Polanco and the arrest of closer Felipe Vazquez for child sex allegations.
But there were other issues, including angry confrontations between players and coaches and two bench-clearing brawls with the Cincinnati Reds.
Rookie pitcher Dario Agrazal said he has learned much from Hurdle.
“He is consistently just pouring into us, just giving up advice and giving us that uplift that we need sometimes.” he said.
Jerry DiPaola is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Jerry by email at [email protected] or via Twitter .