With yet another firing, the Pittsburgh Pirates have made plenty of changes, but does it even matter?
It’s been an offseason filled with changes for the Pittsburgh Pirates. It started when the team moved on from manager Clint Hurdle, as well as their pitching and bench coaches. The changes continued last week when the team announced, in a surprising decision, that team president Frank Coonelly would also no longer be a part of the team. Of course, with Coonelly gone, questions were quickly raised about the job status of general manager Neal Huntington, questions that were answered when the team fired him on Monday. After yet another disappointing year, these changes were almost certainly needed, but with owner Bob Nutting in place, do these moves even actually matter?
With most of the staff and front office now gone, the Pirates finally seem to have dedicated themselves to sweeping changes. For far too long, Pittsburgh’s front office was filled with guys that Nutting liked but perhaps weren’t prepared to handle the responsibilities they were given. That has changed, however, with the team’s decision to hire Travis Williams to replace Coonelly as Team President.
A long-time leader in the front offices of both the Pittsburgh Penguins and New York Rangers in the NHL, Williams seems to be well-respected, particularly as it relates to marketing and business acumen. Though he lacks experience when it comes to baseball, Williams has a chance to start rebuilding the Pirates brand. As long as he surrounds himself with smart baseball people, Williams should prove to be an excellent fit.
Another promising development as it relates to Nutting and the Pirates is the fact that suddenly, the owner seems willing to make changes, even if it means he has to spend money. Seen as one of the stingiest owners in all of sports, Nutting decided to move on from most of his staff, despite the fact he will be paying them regardless. Jon Heyman, of MLB Network, broke it down on Twitter, saying,
Pirates owner Bob Nutting, not known for throwing money around, is now eating about $10M combined on Hurdle/Huntington contracts. Both had 2 years left. Hurdle made $3M plus, Huntington about $2M
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) October 28, 2019
I’m not saying that suddenly, Nutting is a great owner and is going to finally start caring about the team he owns, but this is certainly a start. We can question the timing of his moves. After all, moving on from your General Manager in the middle of a managerial search is a strange move. That said, it was time to shake things up, and Nutting finally seemed to listen to public outcry.
At the end of the day, the Pittsburgh Pirates are a bit of a mess right now, but at least we won’t have to watch the same dumpster-fire from the last few years. It’s impossible to know whether or not this is going to work out for the Pirates, but for the first time in a while, there’s some semblance of hope.