By John Perrotto
The Pirates plan to hire Texas Rangers hitting coach Clint Hurdle as their manager if they can work out a contract, multiple baseball sources said Saturday.
Hurdle is the Pirates’ choice to replace John Russell, who was fired Oct. 4 after a 57-105 season. The other finalist is Pirates bench coach Jeff Banister.
The biggest hang up with the deal is said to be the length of the contract. General manager Neal Huntington has only one more year left on his contract and it is rare in baseball when a manager has a longer deal than a GM.
However, Hurdle wants a multi-year contract rather than the one guaranteed year with options for 2012 and 2013 that the Pirates are reportedly offering.
Hurdle also interviewed for the New York Mets’ managerial vacancy earlier this week. Various reports indicate that he is likely to be one of three finalists for that job along with former Pirates coach Terry Collins and Bob Melvin. All three have previous major-league managing experience, which is what the Mets are seeking as a replacement for Manuel.
Hurdle, though, would prefer to take the Pirates’ offer rather than wait to see if he is the Mets’ choice, according to a source with knowledge of his thinking.
The 53-year-old Hurdle just finished his first season as the Rangers’ hitting coach and helped them win their first American League pennant after serving as Colorado’s manager from April 26, 2002-May 29, 2009. He compiled a 543-625 record and led the Rockies to their lone National League pennant in 2007.
John Perrotto spent more than two decades on the Pirates’ beat and is editor-in-chief of BaseballProspectus.com