Following a fourth consecutive losing non-playoff season, the Pittsburgh Pirates decided it was time for a change in the front office.
The team announced Monday that they have fired general manager Neal Huntington, following 12 years on the job.
Pirates announce Executive Vice President and General Manager Neal Huntington has been relieved of his duties. pic.twitter.com/eIoZu8JU5g— Pirates (@Pirates) October 28, 2019
Pirates ownership has decided to make numerous changes since the end of the regular season. Beloved and widely respected manager Clint Hurdle was also fired by the Pirates, and team president Frank Coonelly left the organization soon after later.
After reaching the postseason three years in a row from 2013 to 2015, the Pirates have experienced a massive decline. They've recorded losing seasons in three of the past four years now, finishing last in the NL Central this year with a 69-93 record.
The budget-conscious Pirates had no choice but to start trading away some of their top players from those 2013-15 playoff teams. Former NL MVP Andrew McCutchen, All-Star pitcher Gerrit Cole and veteran starter Francisco Liriano are among the key players the Pirates have moved on from.
Despite the sour ending in his tenure, Huntington leaves behind a fairly strong legacy with the Pirates. The team had recorded losing seasons every year from 1993 to to 2012, but Huntington was able to piece together a team that finally broke the trend in 2013 - when Pittsburgh won 94 games to clinch an NL Wild Card spot.
After defeating the Cincinnati Reds in the Wild Card Game, the Pirates pushed the eventual NL Champion St. Louis Cardinals to five games before bowing out in the NLDS. The Pirates fell to the Los Angeles Dodgers and Chicago Cubs in the 2014 and 2015 NL Wild Card Games, respectively.
Pirates Had To Make A Change
Huntington deserves a lot of credit for turning the Pirates into a playoff team for three years, but it was ultimately time for a change. The organization is nowhere close to contention, with few star-caliber players, and the farm system isn't exactly one of the deepest in baseball. It was time for some major changes in the Steel City, because the Pirates are long way away from being a playoff team again.