The Pirates fired everybody – in a strange order, and at weird intervals.
GM Neal Huntington was last to go – after oddly participating in the team’s managerial search.
So, what does this really mean?
Is owner Bob Nutting serious about trying to compete, or does he just want to convince the media and citizens that he’s serious about trying to compete?
I don’t believe Nutting has had an epiphany and suddenly wants to win. I don’t believe new team president Travis Williams was hired to secretly broker a sale.
Before we conclude the Pirates’ changes are good or bad, let’s find out who the new GM and manager are. Let’s see the budget. Let’s hear the plan.
The Pirates’ plan should be: Burn it down.
Take two years, so you get value in exchange for Starling Marte, Gregory Polanco, Josh Bell, etc. (Dumping everybody at one time would drive down return.) But burn down the major-league roster, and finally undertake a legit rebuilding process.
There aren’t any half-measures when it comes to rebuilding. You do, or you don’t.
The Pirates lost 93 games last season. Attendance has dropped by a million people since 2015. How much worse could it get?
Burn it down. Truly rebuild.
I don’t see the Pirates’ purge as that meaningful, though I love the hiring of Williams. But you’d have to be insane to think this is the start of the Pirates competing again.
Those who got fired were no box of chocolates. But Huntington made the playoffs three times in 12 years, manager Clint Hurdle three times in nine years. Their successors won’t do that.
The priorities of the organization were (and remain) the biggest problem.