Despite some major changes, the Pittsburgh Pirates will always have problems as long as Bob Nutting owns the team.
The Pittsburgh Pirates have made sweeping changes since the season ended, firing manager Clint Hurdle, pitching coach Ray Searage and bench coach Tom Prince. Given the team’s struggles throughout the season, it wasn’t surprising that Pittsburgh decided change was needed. Hurdle’s message didn’t seem to be getting through to players anymore and the pitching staff under Searage’s tutelage was among the MLB’s worst in 2019. The rest of the team’s coaching staff may or not be retained, depending on what the next manager decides. It’s clear that these changes are needed, and they are a start to what should be a total rebuild, but they don’t address the Pirates’ real issue.
Owner Bob Nutting is one of, if not the worst, owners in all of baseball. It’s one thing to be incompetent at a job (which Nutting is), but it’s the apathy that he shows toward the team that is the real problem. Nutting refuses to address problems himself, instead, forcing those below him to answer for his ineptitude. Whenever the pressure starts to mount on Nutting, he finds a scapegoat. This year, it was Hurdle and a couple of coaches. In three years when the new manager fails to improve the team, they too will likely be blamed.
It doesn’t help either, that Nutting is more worried about his bottom line than fielding a winning team. Instead of paying up to keep the team’s stars around, he tries to pinch pennies, creating an environment of constant turnover. It’s a simple thought – pay the players that help Pittsburgh win – but for whatever reason, ownership can’t seem to figure that out. Being cheap doesn’t win championships, but unfortunately, it seems that doesn’t matter to Pittsburgh’s owner.
I’ve been as tough as anyone on Hurdle and his performance in Pittsburgh, and though a change was needed, it’s obvious he was only part of the problem. Bob Nutting is ruining Pittsburgh baseball, and until he sells the team, the Pirates’ problems will never go away.