Despite a last-place divisional finish and his team’s third losing season in the last four years, Pittsburgh Pirates manager Clint Hurdle expects to return next season, he told The Athletic’s Stephen Nesbitt.
Hurdle said he “recently received assurance from the organization that he will be back as manager next year,” according to Nesbitt. Next season would mark Hurdle’s 10th with the team, and both he and general manager Neal Huntington have two years remaining on their contracts.
The Pirates made the postseason under Hurdle from 2013-15, but never won a series. He is still optimistic he can bring the club back to its previous level of success.
“We had a nice season last year. We had some optimism,” Hurdle said. “This year has been a punch-back. You hope — just because of the athletic competitor and fighter in you — you’ll have every opportunity to push back through this with the group, a large group of men that will be back, with ownership and [team president] Frank [Coonelly], to do it together.
Hurdle, 62, also has more concrete goals. Coming up on two decades as a major league manager and apparently beginning to feel that time is running out, he’d like to win a World Series.
“Because the goal hasn’t changed. I’m still of the mindset that the goal is to win a World Series. I’d love to win a World Series ring before I no longer am in uniform. That hourglass has been flipped over. I’m 62. You know? I have more than enough left in me to fulfill the contract, if that works out, to manage another two seasons. That’s not even a question in my mind.”
Clint Hurdle knows his days in Pittsburgh could be numbered
With Bruce Bochy and Ned Yost retiring, Hurdle would be the longest-tenured active manager with one team in the majors, if the Pirates do retain him. Hurdle, however, doesn’t seem intent on overstaying his welcome.
“Everybody’s got a shelf life,” Hurdle said. “For some it’s chosen. For some it’s not. But everybody knows they’ve got a shelf life.”
If 2019 were to be his last season, it wouldn’t be surprising, but it may be a sour way to go out. The Pirates were plagued with injuries to key players, a clubhouse altercation that led to suspensions, yet more injury and, most recently, Felipe Vasquez’s arrest over alleged child sex crimes.
“I’ve had more situations in the second half of this season than I had in 16 1/2 years of managing,” Hurdle said. “I’m overseeing that clubhouse. … I’m accountable for a lot, whether I’m directly touching it or indirectly responsible for it, because it falls under the umbrella of being a manager.”
If Hurdle does, in fact, stick around, it seems likely Huntington also would. But to find success, they’ll have to put in some serious work, both on the field and off it.
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