Ship-Wrecked: The 2019 Pittsburgh Pirates

This 2019 Pittsburgh Pirates season has been a colossal disappointment. A season that came into Spring Training with such promise has been nothing short of a failure.

Outside of the emergences of Josh Bell and Bryan Reynolds, the entire fan base should erase 2019 from its memory. It’s a sad thought that we’re ending the decade where playoff baseball was experienced for the first time in my 27 years. The way things are trending, it may be another 27 years before I experience the magical feeling of playoff baseball. 

Which brings me to my point, 2020 has to be a start of a new era. Bob Nutting needs to show some pride in his product and clean house. Upper management, scouting departments, major league coaching, and organizational management needs to go.

It seems drastic but this club is so behind in the current way baseball is played. If firing EVERYONE seems drastic, then at least focus on everyone who has a hand on the product that matters: the MLB level. 

This club has been spiraling since the end of the All Star Break on July 12th. They went into it 2.5 games out of the wild card, and were over 10 games back by the time the deadline came on July 31st. Come deadline time, Neal Huntington could not use their biggest trade chip in Felipe Vasquez to net the return of high quality talent specifically for Gavin Lux and the Los Angeles Dodgers.

The Aroldis Chapman trade from the Yankees to the Cubs back in 2016 and that netted then top prospect Gleyber Torres is one of many examples to turn to. Yankees General Manager Brian Cashman was fearless and was able to create the need for the Cubs to pony up. The gamble paid off huge for Theo Epstein and those 2016 Cubs in a big way capturing their first World Series in over a century.

It’s things like the inability to adequately evaluate the state of your roster that are a huge indictment on the ineptitude of Neal Huntington. We are at the state where he is now unable to make the moves necessary to rebuild a winner. We all know he cannot do it through free agency, but now he cannot rebuild through trades. He failed with the Gerrit Cole trade, failed with the Chris Archer trade, and now has failed with the lack of a Vasquez trade. Because of this, his tenure as the Pirates GM should be done. 

If Huntington deserves to get fired, Clint Hurdle obviously needs the boot too. I could go on forever about the mismanagement of this club. There are too many in-game decisions to point to where the evidence is clear he needs fired. Check his Sunday lineup card where he sits his best players in a divisional series rubber match. He has failed to utilize his best asset Vasquez in high leverage situations time in and time out because he cares about the useless save statistic. He also loves giving up outs late in games via bunting. In fact, he put on the bunt on for Elias Diaz in a game this year where he has in fact never bunted before that late game at-bat. That’s blatant stupidity. Also, Clint Hurdle clearly has lost control of this club and it is beyond evident. Since the all star break, the list of incidents are as follows: 

  • Team suspension of bullpen coach Euclides Rojas for 2 games 
  • Team suspension of Keone Kela for 2 games
  • The Pirates/Reds brawl
  • Season ending surgery for Kyle Crick due to clubhouse brawl with Felipe Vasquez

Jerry Jones and the Dallas Cowboys could not conjure up this sort of locker room drama. It’s evident that Hurdle has lost this team in every facet possible. During the post all star break collapse, a single tweet following a loss to the Mets told me everything I needed to know. He sounds like a man who is defeated and quite frankly ready to walk away.

Honestly, Nutting needs to push him out the door. Since he took the job, Hurdle’s goal was to reunite a city with its baseball club. In that aspect, he has succeeded. 2013-2015 seems so long ago though. I guarantee that if Hurdle is managing this club next season, the city of Pittsburgh is staring at another long summer to start the new decade. 

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