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Pirates To Fire Russell, But Not Neal Huntington

Dejan Kovacevic of the Post-Gazette reports that the Pirates are likely to fire John Russell shortly after the season ends today. General manager Neal Huntington will be retained.

I have no passionate feelings about Russell one way or the other. He doesn’t do much for me as a manager, and the amount of sloppy play in his tenure has been disappointing, but mostly I think the poor play has been a function of the talent he has been given. Unfortunately, it’s been all but certain since he was hired that the team would be horrible for the next several years, which makes Russell something like a sacrificial lamb.

Kovacevic reports that the decision will be made by owner Bob Nutting and team president Frank Coonelly. Although Huntington will stay on as general manager, this move suggests he has only a couple more years to show that the Pirates can be a contending team, or Nutting and Coonelly will replace him, too. The firing of a manager can often be a warning to the general manager as well, and I think that’s what we’re seeing here.

Photographs by dizfunk used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.