The Pirates are close to extending Clint Hurdle to a contract extension for 2014, with an option for 2015. He was entering the final year of the three-year deal, so the extension buys perceived stability for Hurdle.
The players seem to love Hurdle, as do upper management, so it’s not really surprising that the club wanted to keep him around for longer. However, he’s had one winning season in ten (and that season was when he took the Rockies to the World Series) over the course of his managerial career. With the Pirates he’s overseen two good first halves that were followed by second half collapses. He’s had a 151-173 record as Pirates manager over a period that has seen the club progress from 57 win in John Russell’s final year in Pittsburgh, to 72 win in his first year and 79 wins last season.
Many have seen today’s news as a non-event. It’s commonly believed that if Neal Huntington is removed as that club’s GM at the end of the season, it will be the start of the clear out that will include Clint Hurdle. Nonetheless, it’s strange timing to extend the manager that has overseen two straight second half collapses - the Pirates are yet to play a game in 2013 so his situation should really be seen as the same as it was at the end of last season. The front office had a season to see if the team could finish this year, so could have waited to assess Hurdle's contractual situation at a later date.