Neal Huntington out as Pittsburgh Pirates GM
It appears that the clearance sale within the Pittsburgh Pirates organization is complete. Instead of the Jolly Roger being lifted it was Neal Huntington to be relieved of his duties as general manager.
As noted by Jason Mackey of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, owner Bob Nutting was the driving force behind the firing. Nearly within that same breath, the Pirates also announced the hiring of new president Travis Williams, formerly of the Pittsburgh Penguins. Timing-wise, it appears as though the decision to fire Huntington was made before Williams’ arrival. As it sits right now, Williams has the apparent power to hire and fire general managers.
The Surprise to the Process
While some may have seen it coming, the decision to move on from Huntington comes as quite a surprise to most. Huntington was currently in the second phase of finding Clint Hurdle‘s replacement as manager.
Now that process is expected to pause slightly with an eye now on the rest of Huntington’s staff. Player development has taken a hard hit the past few years and that may be an area of emphasis going forward for the Pirates.
Pirates are interesting. Hurdle was fired after he’d heard he was staying. Huntington was let go after he received a vote of confidence.
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) October 28, 2019
Huntington has been the GM of the Pirates since Sept. 25 of 2007. He brought the team back into a playoff contender. They, in fact, did become a playoff team for three years under Huntington’s leadership before fading over the past four seasons. The team made the post-season from 2013-2015 but could never really find a way to get past the Divisional Series. The team managed just three playoff wins under Huntington’s regime.
As for Williams, while he has some baseball experience to his name, it doesn’t amount to a whole lot. Before his eleven years with the Penguins organization, Williams spent time as a legal team member with the Pirates. That included assisting with items such as PNC Park development and TV rights.
It’s been quite the process for the Pirates ever since they made the League Championship Series back in 1992. It appeared that the process initiated under Huntington just wasn’t going to cut it and now, the process will land on the shoulders of a new regime.