The Pittsburgh Pirates need a new manager, and in Jeff Banister, the team has the perfect candidate.
Fresh off a disaster season in which the Pittsburgh Pirates finished with a 69-93, the team decided a new voice is needed in the clubhouse and decided to fire long-time manager Clint Hurdle. Since then, however, the team has been incredibly quiet regarding their search for the next manager, and considering the current state of the organization, it doesn’t appear that many high-profile candidates will be looking to throw their hats into the ring. Luckily, the Pirates don’t need a high-profile manager to return to respectability. The right candidate already exists on the team’s staff. Jeff Banister, former Texas Rangers manager and current Pirates special assistant, is not only a front-runner for the job but also the club’s best option.
A player in the Pirates system back in the late ’80s and early ’90’s, and a former bench coach earlier this decade, Banister has a history with the team that no other candidate has. He was a final candidate for the manager position during the Pirates last search before they settled on Hurdle. Since then, Bannister has only gained more experience and even has a Manager of the Year award under his belt.
Things may not have ended as smoothly as they started for Banister as the Rangers manager, but he proved during his time in Texas that the job isn’t too big for him. As previously stated, this guy was good enough to be a Manager of the Year winner. As a Pirates special assistant, Banister is already familiar with the current roster and what the team needs to do to improve. He seems to be respected within the organization, and that could be a huge bonus given the circus act that the clubhouse became at the end of Hurdle’s tenure.
To be completely honest, whoever the Pirates next manager is will face a tough task. With some of the worst ownership in all of sports and some major holes in the roster, the next man up must be willing to deal with tough circumstances and be good enough to overcome them. Jeff Banister may not be the exciting pick to lead the Pirates into the future, but he is the right choice to get this team back on track.