By Colin Dunlap

PITTSBURGH (93-7 THE FAN) — This column is, by nature, supposed to be controlled by a definitive opinion.

Yes or no; black or white; he stays or he goes; the guy is the best ever or he stinks — something like that.

Here’s one for you as it pertains to the future of Pirates manager Clint Hurdle … I could see it going either way and, in truth, wouldn’t have a problem whichever way the Pirates decided to go.

Sorry for the lack of a hot take or sturdily coming down on one side or the other, but that’s just the truth of all of this for me right now.

You see, Hurdle will be 60 at the end of this month and also is in the final year of a contract that has a club option for next season.
Pirates chairman Bob Nutting — as per usual — isn’t saying much and it feels like the organization has taken a wait and see approach to all this.

As for his part, Hurdle recently told Rob Biertempfel of The Tribune Review:

“I just love where I’m at right now. I’m in the best physical condition I’ve been in a long time. I love the energy this team has and this organization has, the time spent, the players, the people I’m working with. I’ve had a blast here. As long as I’m having fun, I’d like to stay engaged. When it becomes no fun, I need to go home.”

Hurdle also added in Biertempfel’s piece:

“I have a contract. It’s not a topic that I really spent a lot of time (on).”

Hmmm. Interesting.

What can be extracted from this for me is that Hurdle wants to stick around here for a little while if management will have him, if not it’s not a whole lot of skin off his back — he will get on with his life.

And that’s where I shrug my shoulders in a “the Pirates could do worse than Hurdle, but they might be able to do better than Hurdle” kind of method.

If you are one of those fans who fall on the side that Hurdle grossly mismanages the bullpen, the message he had when he first got to town has grown stale and his teams’ record is the ultimate barometer and has fallen both this season and last, I can understand. I can see where you want to run him out of town.

If you fall on the opposite side, I can see that as well. If you are holding tight to the fact that this man changed the atmosphere of this franchise, can’t be faulted for star players Jung Ho Kang and Starling Marte missing a bunch of time and cling to his 551-509 record so far as Pirates manager as a reason to extend him, I can understand. I can see where you want to offer him an extension and have him around longer.

You know, maybe as I gulp all this down I have come to a conclusion and will offer opinion — although it falls in line with the theme of this column and is pretty non-committal.

Maybe, just maybe, the best thing to do is pick up that club option and have Hurdle manage the 2018 season without years of security in the future. Make him, in a sense, sing for his supper next season.

And then, after that one, go ahead and make a decision.

That sounds good to me.

Colin Dunlap is a featured columnist at CBSPittsburgh.com. He can also be heard weekdays from 5:40 a.m. to 10 a.m. on Sports Radio 93-7 “The Fan.” You can e-mail him at colin.dunlap@cbsradio.com. Check out his bio here.

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