A year after winning 94 games and reaching the postseason for the first time since 1992, the Pittsburgh Pirates rewarded the architect of the team, general manager Neal Huntington, and manager Clint Hurdle with three-year contract extensions.
The Pittsburgh Pirates today extended the contracts of General Manager Neal Huntington and Manager Clint Hurdle for three years, with club options for the 2018 season. The announcement was made by Pirates President Frank Coonelly.
"Neal and Clint have led a team of baseball professionals, in the front office and on the field, that has transformed the Pittsburgh Pirates into a club that again must be reckoned with in the National League," said Coonelly. "We are extremely pleased that they will continue to lead this team in Pittsburgh."
"I have a tremendous amount of personal respect and appreciation for the impact that Neal, Clint and their staffs have had on our organization," said Pirates Chairman Bob Nutting. "My expectation has been and remains that they, led by Frank, will continue to play a lead role in our success for years to come."
Since taking over in 2010, Hurdle has accumulated a 248-242 record and has improved the team each season. Keep in mind that the year before his arrival, the Pirates were an abysmal 57-105.
Huntington, meanwhile, was responsible for mixing veterans like Marlon Byrd, Justin Morneau, Russell Martin, A.J. Burnett and Francisco Liriano with home-grown talents like Andrew McCutchen, Gerrit Cole, Sterling Marte, Pedro Alvarez and Neil Walker.
The Pirates couldn't get past their divisional rival, the St. Louis Cardinals, in the 2013 National League Division Series, losing 3-2, but they did knock the Cincinnati Reds out of the playoffs by beating them 6-2 in the Wild Card Game.
You'd imagine Pittsburgh was thrilled enough just to reach the postseason, but to win a playoff game—then to take the Cardinals to the brink in the NLDS—well, it was almost too good to be true.
With one of the top farm systems in baseball, the Pirates will expect to keep the good times rolling. They've started the season 3-1, have a solid pitching staff and a perennial MVP candidate in McCutchen. Things are looking up in Pittsburgh. Plus, it would appear the magic they found last year has carried over.
From ESPN Stats and Information:
Pirates and Tigers walked off in first 2 games. FROM ELIAS: This is 1st time 2 teams walked off in each of first 2 games in modern era.— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) April 3, 2014
The good times just keep on rolling, and both Huntington and Hurdle are a huge reason why. Their extensions were certainly well-earned.