By John Perrotto
Photo: David Hague – Inside Pittsburgh Sports
The easiest way to quantify the effectiveness of a general manager or a manager in the major leagues is by his record.
However, it is not always the most accurate way of doing so. And certainly isn’t always very fair.
Thus, to say Pirates general manager Neal Huntington and manager John Russell have been failures is not necessarily true. Granted, the Pirates have gone 130-194 since the start of the 2008 season and you don’t have to be Peter Gammons to realize a .401 winning percentage isn’t good.
However, there have been extenuating circumstances for both men. Huntington spent the better part of 21 months evaluating the talent left over at the major-league and minor-league level by predecessor Dave Littlefield then determined last June that it was time for the franchise to blow everything up and start over.
Russell has been left with something less than a full major-league roster following the July 31 non-waiver trading deadline during both of his seasons.
So, how do you judge the performance of Huntington and Russell? Apparently, in the eyes of Pirates ownership, by however much progress is made during the 2010 season.
The contracts of Huntington and Russell expire at the end of the season but owner Bob Nutting says he has no plans on extending either deal at the present.
Thus, both Huntington and Russell have lame-duck status.
Russell says not having a contact beyond 2010 does not bother him. He also dismisses the idea that having no long-term job security might undermine his authority with his players.
“It’s really not an issue,” Russell said. “I really believe that the day you start worrying about whether you are going to have a job is the day you should quit because you can’t keep your focus on the task at hand.”
Huntington also says he is not concerned about the possibility of being let go by season’s end. He is also quick to say the situation will not affect any potential roster moves.
“We have a mission. We have a vision. We have a plan. And we’re in the middle of it,” Huntington said. “We’re not going to be deterred from that as an organization and I’m certainly not going to stray from that individually. We’ve invested too much time and energy to reverse course. That is not going to change because of anyone’s contract situation.”