PITTSBURGH (93-7 The Fan)- The Pittsburgh Pirates are coming off a 78-win season in 2016, down from the 98 wins the team earned the previous year.
This off season has brought with a lot of rumors, including many revolving around trading star center fielder (for now) Andrew McCutchen. But overall, the Pirates have had a quiet winter to this point as far as making actual roster moves.READ MORE: 40th Street Bridge Lane Restrictions Go Into Place This Week
Pirates manager Clint Hurdle stopped by the Bowser Nissan Performance Theater on Friday morning for a full hour to join “The Fan Morning Show” and talked all things Buccos with the hosts and Pirates fan in attendance.
Despite the trade rumors swirling around McCutchen, Hurdle is and was not worried about the situation and how he will respond in his play if he is indeed back in a Pirates uniform in 2017.
“I’m not worried. Worrying, I found out throughout my life, worrying is just something to do but it doesn’t accomplish anything,” said Hurdle. “I believe in conversation, I believe in communication and I believe in prayer. So, I’ve had communication with Andrew, I’ve had communication with just about all our players I start right before Thanksgiving and will finish up here probably after PirateFest.”
“I believe Andrew continues to learn things that he hasn’t had the opportunity to learn before, we went through a season that was challenging for him. A lot of things will benefit him moving forward…there’s a lot of people I run into on the street that seem to have it all figured out and how Andrew feels about everything but I’ve never been a Gold Glover, I’ve never been a Silver Slugger, I’ve never been an MVP so I’ll ask him questions on ‘How you doing? How you feeling?’ and that’s what I do. I believe that there’s such a good part of him that loves being a Pirate and loves playing for this city and this fan base that he’ll continue to do what’s best for the organization,” said Hurdle.
There are no questions about Andrew McCutchen’s leadership in the Pirates clubhouse to Hurdle.
“No, it shouldn’t be questioned,” said Hurdle. “Number one, there’s new opportunities every day, every year to learn new things. We all go through situations where opportunities arise to lead and you either move upon them or you don’t, all of us.”
“He leads quite often by action, he’s cerebral, he has thoughts. I’ve never questioned his leadership. Number one, I didn’t write the book on leadership, number two, nobody is 100% correct at anything they do at any time, you live and you learn and there are opportunities to have conversations about, ‘okay what was your thought on this?” I’ve been questioned that way by people. So, I think he has always been willing to learn, he uses his eyes and ears well.”
Hurdle was asked if it ever gets frustrating to see other moves teams make to improve their teams in the off-season and said simply..
“It’s not my job,” said Hurdle. “My job is to be the best manager I can be, my job is to be the best leader I can be, my job isn’t to compare, what a horrible word that can be when we don’t use it properly. I know the job I signed up for. We talked about the model, we talked about the payroll, we talked about a lot of things before you come in so you know where you are, and if you don’t like it you always have the option to check out. Go somewhere else. The grass is greener on the other side, I’ve seen people go for that green grass, they find out the water bill’s a lot higher over there.”READ MORE: Dozens Of Women Gather On North Shore For 'Black Maternal Health Week' Photoshoot
Hurdle said he is in communication with general manager Neal Huntington about personnel moves being made and was asked if he has ever brought up the need for a veteran starting pitcher to Huntington.
“Presentation’s everything and that’s really what we’ve gotten poor in today’s society is the presentation when you have a question or when you have a thought. I share my thoughts with him as I’ve said, I’ve made presentations. Timing is everything as well on when you do it. So, as I’ve gotten older I’ve tried to to be more mature, more professional in the timing of my presentation when I have a thought that I think makes sense.”
You can listen to part one of the interview with Hurdle on “The Fan Morning Show” below.
During part two of the interview, Hurdle took questions from the audience in the Bowser Nissan Performance Theater. You can listen to part two of the interview below.
Hurdle also opened up about when he and the organization started to think about moving Andrew McCutchen to a corner outfield spot and out of centerfield.
“We had a conversation at the end of the year, we started thinking about it probably in the second half because one thing we do every year as an organization, I do as a manager, I look where we are at the All-Star break, where we want to be by the end of the season then I do try to crystal ball a little bit on the talent in-house. ‘How do we best serve the skill sets that we have within our own organization? How do we continue to find the best places for men to play?'” Hurdle said.
“I do believe that, appropriately, we are going to get together soon and have that conversation on how we best serve the team, the individuals on the team and also to put them, what we believe is in a position to be the best players they can be for the team at those respective positions.”
Hurdle also has confidence in Tony Watson as a closer.
“I do. I do. Invaluable experience for him as well last year getting to do it for the first time,” said Hurdle. “There’s no better feeling from a manager than knowing what you’re going to get when that gates opens and that man comes out because that guy wheres grown man pants, he prepares, he executes, some days its better than the others, he’s worked for that opportunity.”
You can listen to part three of the interview on “The Fan Morning Show” below.