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Thread: Pirates extended Huntington???

      
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    Default Pirates extended Huntington???

    http://msn.foxsports.com/mlb/story/p...russell-061710

    Pirates need to make decision on Russell
    Updated Jun 17, 2010 10:22 AM ET
    The Pirates, like many perennial also-rans, seem to exist in their own universe, insisting that all is well while losing and losing and losing some more.

    Here’s one possible reason that manager John Russell is not in imminent danger of being fired even though the Pirates lost their 10th straight game with a six-error performance Wednesday night, falling to a National League-worst 23-42:


    The Pirates already have extended general manager Neal Huntington’s contract through 2011 and might also have exercised Russell’s club option for next season, one major-league source says.

    Club president Frank Coonelly, citing club policy about “non-player personnel,” would not comment on the contracts of Russell and Huntington.

    Previous reports have said that both deals expire after this season.

    “Even though that policy has been unsuccessful in eliminating or even reducing the speculation regarding potential dismissals of valued employees, we are going to continue to decline to discuss the status of these employees,” Coonelly said in an e-mail.

    “They are very well aware of our expectations as an organization and how we feel about them as members of the organization.”

    While the Pirates are under no obligation to disclose the contractual statuses of Russell and Huntington, clubs often benefit from revealing such information, particularly about a manager.

    If the team indeed exercised Russell’s option, an announcement not only would quell media, fan and even internal speculation, but also send a message to the players that the manager is not a lame duck and enjoys the support of the organization.

    On the other hand, the Pirates are headed for their 18th straight losing season, and their third straight under Huntington and Russell. Average home attendance has dropped from 19,749 last season to 17,578 this season. If the Pirates were to announce that their management team was staying intact, they would invite additional fan backlash.

    Russell, of course, could get fired even if he is signed through 2011; his salary is not known, but surely is lower than those of two players the Pirates have purged this season – infielder Ramon Vazquez, who was owed $2 million when the Pirates released him in April; and second baseman Akinori Iwamura, who was designated for assignment Wednesday and is owed the balance of $4.8 million.

    Coonelly and Huntington say they are not talking about firing Russell. But sentiment exists, above and below them, that a new manager is necessary, sources say. Some members of the team’s ownership group want to make changes to demonstrate to fans the franchise’s commitment to winning. It is not clear whether Bob Nutting, who owns approximately 75 to 80 percent of the Pirates, is part of those discussions.

    How can he not be?

    How can Russell be safe?

    The Pirates are in the middle of a transition, summoning three of their top prospects — third baseman Pedro Alvarez, right-hander Brad Lincoln and outfielder Jose Tabata — within the past week. Rather than starting fresh under a new manager, the Pirates are allowing those players to absorb their losing culture.

    Russell’s .392 winning percentage is even lower than those of his predecessors, Jim Tracy, who had a .417 winning percentage in two seasons; and Lloyd McClendon, who had a .430 winning percentage in five.

    The Pirates’ annual flops are all the more incredible considering that – unlike, the Orioles and Royals – they play in the National League, where the competition is less formidable than in the AL.

    There is a dubious silver lining this season: The Pirates’ minus-153 run differential, worst in the majors, indicates that they are winning more games than they should. Still, it’s difficult to argue that the team is playing to its potential. Some scouts criticize the Pirates’ poor fundamentals; others question whether the players are properly motivated.

    Then again, the club at its best is not very good.

    Huntington, according to one source, is reluctant to fire Russell for the same admirable reason that Brewers GM Doug Melvin has been reluctant to fire Ken Macha: The greater blame, Huntington believes, should go to himself.

    The Pirates’ constant turnover under Huntington has forced Russell to repeatedly incorporate new players. Many of Huntington’s trades, most notably the four-player return for outfielder Jason Bay, have proven, at least to this point, unsuccessful.

    Huntington even is involved in strategy, telling the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette earlier this season that he and his statistical analysts play significant roles in forming the team’s defensive shifts.


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    The bottom line, according to a source, is that Huntington still believes in Russell, even as questions mount about the manager’s impassive demeanor, communication skills and leadership ability.

    There also is this: The firing of Russell would lead to even greater scrutiny of Huntington and Coonelly, once described by Nutting — seriously — as the “single best management team in all of baseball, maybe in all of sports.”

    The promotions of Alvarez, Lincoln and Tabata represent hope. The players’ union tacitly endorsed the Pirates’ rebuilding plan — and specifically, their investment in player development and scouting — by declining to force the club to increase payroll the way it did with the Marlins.

    It’s possible that the Pirates simply need more time, Huntington in particular. But does anyone seriously believe the team will bring back Russell if he loses 95 or more games for the third straight season?

    If the Pirates already have exercised Russell’s club option for 2011, they will need to admit it eventually.

    And if they are not at least considering a managerial change, they indeed are operating in a faraway universe, uncertain to return.

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    Default Re: Pirates extended Huntington???

    That's news to me too. They also seem to be hinting that they don't know if Russell has been secretly extended and that NH was.

    I can't imagine either getting extended and someone like Dejan not breaking itbefore Fox Sports
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    Default Re: Pirates extended Huntington???

    Only the Pirates would do such a thing in the midst of a ten game losing streak and one day after their team committed 6 errors in a bad loss.

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    Default Re: Pirates extended Huntington???

    Quote Originally Posted by Mister Pittsburgh View Post
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    Only the Pirates would do such a thing in the midst of a ten game losing streak and one day after their team committed 6 errors in a bad loss.
    I can see them extending Huntington and am personally surprised if/that they haven't yet .... Russell on the other hand. There's no reason to extend him. He needs canned. at this point see if a coaching staff shakeup adds a spark to the team. It usually does
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    Default Re: Pirates extended Huntington???

    I have no idea how the entire Pittsburgh media completely whiffed on this one, but it turns out Huntington and Russell were both extended during the offseason. The reason it's just coming out now isn't because it just happened, but because someone nationally reported something completely wrong on Russell then decided to do more digging and found out about it. All of the media talk about them coming into the season without a deal for next year was wrong from day one. Oops.

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    Default Re: Pirates extended Huntington???

    Quote Originally Posted by jnn123 View Post
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    I have no idea how the entire Pittsburgh media completely whiffed on this one, but it turns out Huntington and Russell were both extended during the offseason. The reason it's just coming out now isn't because it just happened, but because someone nationally reported something completely wrong on Russell then decided to do more digging and found out about it. All of the media talk about them coming into the season without a deal for next year was wrong from day one. Oops.
    Seriously? I mean, do we have any other proof of them both being extended besides Fox Sports?

    I just find it hard to believe that none of the beat writers, local writers etc... discovered this
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    Default Re: Pirates extended Huntington???

    Quote Originally Posted by Kipper View Post
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    Seriously? I mean, do we have any other proof of them both being extended besides Fox Sports?

    I just find it hard to believe that none of the beat writers, local writers etc... discovered this
    Frank Coonelly put out a statement. It wasn't up until after I wrote that post, but here it is:

    As you know, we have respectfully declined to discuss publically the contract status of our non-player personnel. While I continue to believe that internal understandings regarding goals, expectations, standards, performance and progress towards meeting those goals are far more productive than public votes of confidence or public discussions about the years remaining on an employee's contract, it is clear that the desire to ascertain the number of years that remain on our manager's contract has become and will remain a distraction, precisely the result we sought to avoid by declining to discuss such matters.



    As a result, while we have demonstrated in the past that a contract will not prevent us from making a change if one is appropriate and thus contract status truly is irrelevant, we will confirm that during the off-season we exercised the Club's 2011 option on JR's contract and added a fourth year (2011) to Neal's contract. We did so because we believed that they were successfully implementing the organization's vision of building a baseball organization that could compete for championships on a consistent basis. We understood that returning this once-proud organization to championship baseball would not happen overnight and that the progress that we were making towards reaching our goal made such extensions appropriate. Despite our very disappointing play at the Major League level thus far this year, we remain convinced that we are making progress towards our goal. We demand performance at all levels of the organization and will continue to hold each and every person in the organization accountable for that performance.



    All of us are extremely disappointed and frustrated by the Club's results on the field thus far this year. While we have made tremendous progress towards executing our long-term vision of building an organization that acquires and develops talented players who will form a core that can consistently compete for championships, we have, collectively, fallen far short of our shorter term goal of playing winning baseball at the Major League level in 2010. We expected that this Club would perform much better than it has to date. With the significant changes that have been made to the roster recently, we still expect that the Club will perform much better during the rest of the season. While it has been painfully obvious that several players have not performed up to expectations, we have been and continue on a daily basis to analyze all of the reasons that we have performed so poorly and how we can get the Club turned around immediately.



    We understand the very difficult job that we have given JR as we have completely revamped an underachieving veteran roster and invested heavily in the acquisition and development of young players who can return the Pirates to winning baseball. While dismissing the manager when the Club is performing poorly is common in this industry, it is not the appropriate response in this case. JR's contract status has played no role in this determination.

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    Default Re: Pirates extended Huntington???

    Wow...

    Amazing that this flew under the radar. Nothing this current Management team has been able to do has flown under the radar, not for that long.

    Huntington being extended at least makes sense, many felt he should've been extended in the offseason anyways. Russell... probably shouldn't have been extended but then again at the time of when he was extended he was coming off of 2 seasons that saw teams being dismantled left and right so I can understand Coonelly's view there but.... If Management is going to hold players accountable, then the same has to be done with coaches too. We saw it at least with the pitching coaches from 2008 to 2009 but this teams fundamental play has been awful, the Pitching staff has been every bit as bad as the 2008 staff that got Jeff Andrews fired after 1 season.

    I know that it's not all on the coaches and it's talent too but these players are performing poorly with fundamental things and underachieving with aspects of their games that should be either their strong suits or improving.

    Good coaching staffs get the most out of their talent. This coaching staff has overseen a colossal underachievement by far too many players. They've been the complete opposite of a staff getting the most out of what they have. If anything they've gotten less than what is expected out of a lot of these guys
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    Default Re: Pirates extended Huntington???

    Extending NH is the right thing to do.....the only logical thing to do. You can't expect the ML team to be better right away when you adopt a build from the bottom approach. You have to let some of his draft classes come up through the system...then you can judge him.

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    Default Re: Pirates extended Huntington???

    Quote Originally Posted by PittFaninVa View Post
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    Extending NH is the right thing to do.....the only logical thing to do. You can't expect the ML team to be better right away when you adopt a build from the bottom approach. You have to let some of his draft classes come up through the system...then you can judge him.
    Definitely and you also have to allow for some sort of stability which is probably why you won't see anything done with regards to Russell this year. Stability is just arriving now getting all of the future core pieces together (McCutchen, Tabata, Alvarez, Walker, Lincoln). Even there, these are all extremely young players that nobody should expect to come in and perform to peak potential. Guys like Andrew McCutchen coming in and doing what he did shouldn't be considered the norm, they should be considered the exception. Guys like Lincoln coming up and struggling or Tabata hitting around .250 etc... are more along the lines of expectations we should see initially until these guys get adjust and into the swing of things.
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    Default Re: Pirates extended Huntington???

    Quote Originally Posted by Kipper View Post
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    Wow...

    Amazing that this flew under the radar. Nothing this current Management team has been able to do has flown under the radar, not for that long.

    Huntington being extended at least makes sense, many felt he should've been extended in the offseason anyways. Russell... probably shouldn't have been extended but then again at the time of when he was extended he was coming off of 2 seasons that saw teams being dismantled left and right so I can understand Coonelly's view there but.... If Management is going to hold players accountable, then the same has to be done with coaches too. We saw it at least with the pitching coaches from 2008 to 2009 but this teams fundamental play has been awful, the Pitching staff has been every bit as bad as the 2008 staff that got Jeff Andrews fired after 1 season.

    I know that it's not all on the coaches and it's talent too but these players are performing poorly with fundamental things and underachieving with aspects of their games that should be either their strong suits or improving.

    [HIGH-LIGHT]Good coaching staffs get the most out of their talent. This coaching staff has overseen a colossal underachievement by far too many players. They've been the complete opposite of a staff getting the most out of what they have. If anything they've gotten less than what is expected out of a lot of these guys[/HIGH-LIGHT]
    The organization is losing points in my book...and that's after winning a ton of points with a great draft (still to be determined if we actually sign the talent).

    The organization does not see the faults of the coaching staff and does not seem willing to swallow their pride and admit their mistake and fire JR. He's done nothing.

    We understand the very difficult job that we have given JR as we have completely revamped an underachieving veteran roster and invested heavily in the acquisition and development of young players who can return the Pirates to winning baseball. [HIGH-LIGHT]While dismissing the manager when the Club is performing poorly is common in this industry, it is not the appropriate response in this case[/HIGH-LIGHT]. JR's contract status has played no role in this determination.
    How is it not FC? How? What even glimmer of hope/success have you seen? We cant hit, we cant field, we cant pitch, we cant run the basepaths...we cant do ANYTHING that ANY GOOD COLLEGE team can do fundamentally....and you see no reason to fire the coaching staff?

    No reason to fire the coaching staff when you see all the fundamentals being tossed out the window...and when your FUTURE is coming up....

    You want the stated future of your ballclub learning how to play baseball THIS way? Last time I checked almost every major prospect we have that is even close to the majors (scratch that...every prospect we have that is close to the majors) is here...and you want the FUTURE learning how NOT to play the game?

    Ok.
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    Default Re: Pirates extended Huntington???

    Quote Originally Posted by Kipper View Post
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    Definitely and you also have to allow for some sort of stability which is probably why you won't see anything done with regards to Russell this year. Stability is just arriving now getting all of the future core pieces together (McCutchen, Tabata, Alvarez, Walker, Lincoln). Even there, these are all extremely young players that nobody should expect to come in and perform to peak potential. Guys like Andrew McCutchen coming in and doing what he did shouldn't be considered the norm, they should be considered the exception. Guys like Lincoln coming up and struggling or Tabata hitting around .250 etc... are more along the lines of expectations we should see initially until these guys get adjust and into the swing of things.
    I agree with you both on NH...but you DONT let the future come up and learn how to play the game this way...there is not one single aspect of our game that is even close to being played even with the slightest amount of fundamental.
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    Default Re: Pirates extended Huntington???

    The only way you fire this coach and his staff is if he has lost the respect of the teasm, if his team does not respond to him any more. I don't know if that is the case. I do know that no team out works the Pirates. This coaching staff always has their team out early in the afternoon working on some aspect of the game. This group was hired because they are considerd teachers.

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    Default Re: Pirates extended Huntington???

    Quote Originally Posted by PittFaninVa View Post
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    The only way you fire this coach and his staff is if he has lost the respect of the teasm, if his team does not respond to him any more. I don't know if that is the case. I do know that no team out works the Pirates. This coaching staff always has their team out early in the afternoon working on some aspect of the game. This group was hired because they are considerd teachers.
    This group is either not learning or learning the wrong thing.

    I dont care...JR isn't a championship manager...you dont build around him.
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    Default Re: Pirates extended Huntington???

    Quote Originally Posted by BigBen2112 View Post
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    This group is either not learning or learning the wrong thing.

    I dont care...JR isn't a championship manager...you dont build around him.
    Actually JR is the perfect coach for this team. He is the type of manager who is willing to put in the time to the teach these young guys. They don't need an x and o manager now maybe later when the this young team is ready to win.

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