PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — The Pittsburgh Pirates are making another big change to their front office. The organization has fired Neal Huntington as their general manager.
Pirates announce Executive Vice President and General Manager Neal Huntington has been relieved of his duties. pic.twitter.com/eIoZu8JU5g
— Pirates (@Pirates) October 28, 2019
Pirates beat writer Jason Mackey was the first to report the news.
According to sources, the Pirates are firing Neal Huntington. Announcement coming later today. … Link to follow.
— Jason Mackey (@JMackeyPG) October 28, 2019
The organization announced last week that they’re replacing Coonelly with former Pittsburgh Penguins’ executive Travis Williams.
MLB Network Insider Jon Heyman reports that the team will halt their search for a manager for the time being, and begin looking for a new general manager.
Pirates are pausing their managerial search. First they will seek a new GM.
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) October 28, 2019
In the meantime, Pirates Assistant General Manager Kevin Graves will serve as GM in the interim.
In a statement, team owner Bob Nutting said of Huntington:
“I greatly appreciate Neal’s dedication to the Pirates organization and our city over the past 12 seasons. His time with the Pirates should always be remembered for ending a long stretch of futility and bringing Postseason baseball back to Pittsburgh.
“This past season was by far the most frustrating and challenging season that I have experienced as owner. It became clear to me as the season progressed that significant change was necessary in order to refresh our entire operations.
“The decisions that have been made over the past month were not easy and have been the result of a systematic and thorough review, and further reinforced through multiple conversations with people that I trust and respect throughout baseball.
“It was critical that we have our new team president in place to conduct the search for the next leader of our baseball operations department. With the naming of Travis Williams to the position of president today, we will immediately begin the search process. I am confident that we will find the right person.
“While we will pause the managerial search process for the time being, we are appreciative of the work that has been done thus far and confident in the candidates available to us. The hiring of a new general manager will only help clarify the situation further for those candidates.”
In a statement last week, Nutting said of Coonelly: “I have a great deal of respect and appreciation for Frank. I will forever be grateful for his tireless work ethic on behalf of the organization, as well as his and his family’s commitment to making a positive impact in our community.”
Of Hurdle, Nutting said: “I have a great deal of appreciation for everything Clint has done for the Pittsburgh Pirates and our community. Clint is not only a great baseball man, he is a great family man. His leadership, inspiration, advice and friendship has helped make me a better person, as he has for so many others. It has been an honor to work with him for the past nine seasons.”
The Pirates say Williams will begin his official duties as team president on Nov. 1. He had been working for the New York Islanders.
In a statement, Williams said:
“This is a homecoming for me, both personally and professionally. It is a tremendous opportunity to come back to a city and a team that I love. I am excited about working with Bob and the rest of the Pirates family to return this franchise to a winning tradition. Today, we turn the page and start writing a new chapter in the history of the Pirates.”
Nutting said of Williams:
“Travis’ leadership abilities, experience and passion for Pittsburgh sports makes him the ideal choice for this position. Travis was an integral part of the Penguins leadership team over the past decade of success. He has a keen understanding of Pittsburgh and appreciates how important our fans are. He will drive a culture of success within our organization.”
Stay with KDKA for the latest on this developing story.