What do you think?

Jenifer Langosch/MLB.com

Now that you have a day to debate the Pirates’ decision to fire manager John Russell and retain general manager Neal Huntington, I want to hear from you.

Let me pose three questions, to which I am interested in hearing your responses:

1. Did Russell deserve another year to see this rebuilding process through further, or did he need to go for the club to make positive strides in 2011?

2. Who/what was most at fault for the Pirates’ 105-loss season?

3. What qualities do you want to see in a new manager?

The forum is all yours…

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25 Comments

1. No, he didn’t deserve another year, not everything was his fault…but he’s not the right guy.
2. Pitching, pitching, and pitching. The previous management’s utter lack of accumulation of pitching talent cost us this season, and probably next season. Their pitching draft picks amounted to nothing. Their faith in Maholm and Duke to lead the rotation was just wrong, they were never gonna be great. Morton, Mcdonald, Ohlendorf, and Lincoln can be good, along with the young arms that aren’t ready. 2012 could yield some great pitching, with 2013 potentially bringing the arms signed this year. They need a veteran presence on the staff for 2011…but one that actually good…aka not Matt Morris.
3. Like everyone else has said, we need a guy with energy, but that commands respect. Somebody like Bobby Valentine who has experience, but also might be a little bit nuts, keeping the young guys on their toes. Picture the scene in Bull Durham where the manager throws the bats into the showers and starts yelling. I was shocked to find out JR was only 49…he’s looks and acts like an 80 year old.

1. No. You don’t have to be Lou Piniella but you need to show some emotion and heart when your team needs you.

2. Owner. You can’t just spend money on the draft. You need to spend money on TOP TIER free agents, not 4 or 5 below average “steals”.

3. Fire, passion, and someone that won’t let the front office control his decision making.

1. There is really only 1 reason that Russell deserved to be let go, and that is that once the prospects came up, the ones that will be the core of this team for the next 5-6 years, the team played worse. The pitchers were worse, and the position players were worse, the young guys that came up even regressed. So for that he needed to be let go.
2. There is not 1 person or 1 thing that is responsible for this season being so poor. We couldn’t pitch, we couldn’t field, we couldn’t score, we were outcoached and overall just fundamentally bad. Everything from the trades over the last few years to players underperforming to coaches not getting through to the players were all directly inivolved in this abomination.
3. In the new manager I am looking for a teacher, someone that can teach winning because that is something these young kids aren’t learning in the minors for the most part. Those that do learn how to win get to see their manager fired, so I don’t even think those players truely get it if winning is aligned with job loss, that is not good.

1. No…Russell did not deserve another season. The lack of good fundamental baseball all season speaks volumes to the manager and his coaching staff.

2. The Front Office. The team needed to continue to go forward with the rebuilding process. Unfortunately…any
rebuilding process will result in such things as a 105 loss season.

3. For the new manager…I would like to see someone with experience in dealing with young players. Also someone who is considered a good tactical manager.

1. Russell deserved to be fired. His record was progressively worse each year. The team seemed to lack basic fundamentals.The team often looked uninspired.
2.Lack of a true clean-up hitter, and lack of a true #1 starting pitcher.
3. A miracle worker.

- Colorado’s #1 Buccos Fan –

1. the fans needed someone’s “head” after that season. Mr. Huntington sealed his fate (positively) w/the acquisition of McDonald, which left just JR left as the lamb. (NH should be grateful that humans forget quickly (Aki Iwamura) & always remember the last things to happen (James McDonald.) However, over 100 games under .500 after three seasons is most certainly grounds for dismissal.
2. Most @ fault – on the field – starting pitching. off the field – it has to take a group effort from everyone in the organization to reach 105 losses & tie records for wins on the road (lack thereof.)
3. Everyone says that the Pittsburgh Pirates manager is a puppet, not a puppeteer, which i believe. Therefore, it does not matter what qualities this gentleman will have.

1. No, John Russell was not the answer for the Pirates moving forward.

2. There is much blame to go around for the lack of success this season. The bulk of that goes to the previous management regimes, who collectively oversaw the deterioration of the Pirates’ franchise from the ground up.

3. I want to see a manager who is much better at making in-game decisions, possesses a highly visible passion for the game, effectively imparts that passion to the players, insists on a much more aggressive style of play for the team, has great vision for selecting coaches, and establishes solid repoire with the coaching staff and players.

Am I asking for too much?

1. Did Russell deserve another year to see this rebuilding process through further, or did he need to go for the club to make positive strides in 2011?

I don’t think so. We gave him a fairly talented club for this year and he led them to 105 losses. I know we didn’t have the pitchers, but there is no reason why this team couldn’t of won 70 games. He had to go to move the club forward.

2. Who/what was most at fault for the Pirates’ 105-loss season?

John Russell, the starting pitching, the hitting until the cavalry got comfortable, and the road woes.

3. What qualities do you want to see in a new manager?

I want a manager who will get fired up and kick the players in the butt if they are under performing. I want one that will argue a call but is also very good with young players. Someone like Fredi Gonzalez.

1. I think the decision of letting John Russell go was a very smart move. He was an ‘ok’ manager, but he didn’t seem to have the passion. Especially the passion to win. Everytime you looked at the guy, whether the Bucs were up 15-2 or down 20-0, he was as straight-faced as Phil Hellmuth. In my opinion he was not fit for this job.

2. This one is tough, there were a few. ONE: John Russell, he made some of the dumbest moves during a game i have ever seen. Like the loss in during interleague play where Doumit was manning 1st and let two runs score when the ball flew by him from a groundball/throw-over (can’t remember)….all while Jones was sitting on the bench. Russells Jones/Doumit/(insert RF here) decisions just blew my mind sometimes and it was just painful for all of us. Also, when J-Mac or another starter is throwing a two-hit shut out, you DO NOT pull him in the sixth. Just Idiotic!!! TWO: Joe Kerrigan/Starting Pitching. Joe Kerrigan was a pretty decent instructor his first year, maybe. But since then, it was just downright awful. And as we saw, when Searage took over, we were seeing games that help the opposition to 5 or less runs. **Proof: flashback to the Milwuakee series…you KNOW which one i’m talking about**

3. There were so many qualities missing in a guy like John Russell. Qualities that Tracy had, and McClendon. Russell had absolutely no “fire” in him. He was one of the quietest Managers i have ever seen. I would like to see another guy like Jim Tracy at the helm, but not some wash-up. i think Ken Macha is NOT a good decision. Do you know why Milwuakee let him go? Because he had very little interaction with the younger players for them. And seeing that only 4 of the Pittsburgh Pirates 40-man roster guys were born before 1982, that would not be a good fit. The Bucs need a big name guy. No one with a bad track record like a Lou Piniella. A guy that can come in and MANAGE these young guys. The Pirates need to think about this long and hard and not just pick someone up cuz he’s cheap and especially not some bum like John Russell.

-Evan D. Cranberry, Twp., PA

1.Although I question some of the on field decisions that Mr Russell made, I think he deserved another year. Look what he had to work with the last three years, a decimated team to say the least. Then finally when there is light at the end of the tunnel, he is let go. As far as the emotion factor goes, I don’t buy that. Many of the players from what I read, did not mind his laid back attitude. If emotion was such a factor, Jim Leyland didn’t have that great a season with the Tigers and Lou Piniella did not have much of a year with the Cubs and they worked for ownership that was willing to spend.
2.NUTTING-NUTTING-NUTTING. His strategy is keep the payroll low and bring in about 19,000 a game with bobbleheads, fireworks, and concerts and count the profits.

3.Until you have an ownership that cares and is committed to winning, I don’t think it matters who is managing.

1. Sadly I feel perhaps he should have been hired as an instructor not a manager. He seemed to have a good rapport with the players. I would have liked to see his career not over solely do to his record in Pittsburgh.

2. I really can’t say who was at fault i feel that the front office might have pursued more talented veterans, that being said the men signed then traded did provide the organization with more valuable potential pieces. I can’t say Russell or any of the coaches are at fault completely either because it was a tough year with injuries and frankly too much pressure on young players who were just getting to form chemistry together.

3. I would like a manager who knows baseball well, meaning has managed a team before or has been a coach around winning managers, men like Tony Pena, Willie Randolph, or even former Pirate Phil Garner. Any of them with a solid veteran coaching staff and pitching staff I think would benefit the club and the very talented young players who are in Double A and Single A. There is so much talent on this team and in the organization, and its hard for me to admit when I am wrong because I hated many of the trades that occurred within the last 6 years, but they have given us the fans lots to hope for. The team and us deserve to have a skipper who is a players manager but also a phenomenal teacher to help nurture the young talent that is in the organization.

1. No he didn’t. I do believe he did his best and worked hard with in many cases, less than major league talent but in the end he made some bad decisions, like batting the pitcher 8th was going to win any games, and he couldn’t seem to get the team ready to play on the road. If Kerrigan was the reason the pitchers regressed than why was he kept on until he damaged Morton & D McCutchen?

2.It seems absolutely nobody in the entire franchise knows how to win. There is nobody in the front office or on the field who has ever won at the major league level. The team lacks the killer instinct to put other teams away. They cannot break out of slumps at the plate and have no true stopper to end losing streaks.

3. Winning experience at the major league level. I don’t think he has to be fiery or go nuts at every blown call but he needs a mean streak to keep the team from being pushed around a’ la the Dodgers throwing at Cutch. He should understand what the other team is trying to do, so many times it seemed the Pirates couldn’t decide what they wanted to do so they gave little thought to what the opposition was trying to do to them.

1. No. Even though the poor record is hardly Russell’s fault, the organization has to show some commitment to winning to its players and its fan base. Since they won’t spend money as a sign of commitment, going out and getting a new manager who will energize things is one way of doing it.

2. I blame Nutting. Here’s why: It’s Huntington who made those horrendous trades, but we needed to make them to get prospects. I like the idea, not the results. The problem is, Nutting should have encouraged Coonelly and Huntington to sign FAs to fill gaps. What is wrong with, as you develop Taillan and Allie and Sanchez, et al, signing a couple of starting pitchers and a quality position player to keep the team around .500. In that scenario, you still build around the Core Four and hope Sanchez develops and that Morris is the real deal and that Taillon, Allie and others make it and make it big. It’s OK to try to do BOTH. I get that they’re not going to outbid the Yankees for Mark Texeira, but they could have and should have signed legitimate major leaguers while they traded off the other guys.

3. A young Jim Leyland.

1. No. Even though the poor record is hardly Russell’s fault, the organization has to show some commitment to winning to its players and its fan base. Since they won’t spend money as a sign of commitment, going out and getting a new manager who will energize things is one way of doing it.

2. I blame Nutting. Here’s why: It’s Huntington who made those horrendous trades, but we needed to make them to get prospects. I like the idea, not the results. The problem is, Nutting should have encouraged Coonelly and Huntington to sign FAs to fill gaps. What is wrong with, as you develop Taillan and Allie and Sanchez, et al, signing a couple of starting pitchers and a quality position player to keep the team around .500. In that scenario, you still build around the Core Four and hope Sanchez develops and that Morris is the real deal and that Taillon, Allie and others make it and make it big. It’s OK to try to do BOTH. I get that they’re not going to outbid the Yankees for Mark Texeira, but they could have and should have signed legitimate major leaguers while they traded off the other guys.

3. A young Jim Leyland.

1. No way! John Russell made terrible decisions IN game.. did it lose games? Yes!
2. Did it lose 105 games? Probably not. We have got to find a way to play better on the road. One of the reasons is by pitching. First off, I disagree with an earlier comment 110%!!! John Russell didn’t take our starters out too early… HE LEFT THEM IN TOO LONG!!!! Holy COW! Our starting rotation is half good and our bullpen is GREAT. (when we put the right guys in.) Our bullpens numbers are bad because they go into games that we are already losing by 6 runs. The opponent is already “on the hit train” and aren’t going to slow down. It’s momentum. The fault for 105 losses is just because our guys are good… but not consistent. And of course… starting pitching!! We need guys who will give us 6-7 good innings EVERY outing. James McDonald is probably our best starter and he’s NOT an ace. Go out and get two arms this year and PROVE that Pittsburgh wants to win… otherwise… sell the team because the city of Pittsburgh deserves better. And the history of the Pirates and MLB deserves a winning Pirates team!
3. Phil Garner.

1. Yes
2. No
3. What about Anfy Van Slyke and reverse the curse

1) In pondering Russell, one need look no further than Baltimore. The Orioles entered the season with minimal talent and a lackluster manager. The team careened to a record that was preposterously bad, several games BEHIND the Piartes in the overall. With two months to go, the Orioles replaced the manager, a manager who knew how to manage, and the team and it’s minimal talent enjoyed two strong final months, amassing on of the best records in MLB over that time. So, can a manager make a difference? You’re damn right he can. Russell might work elsewhere with lessons he’s learned not as much from coaching this team but from why he was fired … but he was definitely DONE in Pittsburgh.

2) The 105 losses was a nightmare for a team that, honestly, probably was destined to lose 90 even with a decent manager. The failure wasn’t in the hands of the players here, it lies with all levels of management. Russell has no fire. The team didn’t infuse the team with any level of experience, which the team could have used to guide them in the absence of a competent manager.
I believe that a once stagnant “rebuilding” process IS underway now, and am encouraged by players like McCutcheon, Walker, Tabata, Alvarez, and Atkins, but the keys are NOT all there yet, and waiting for them to develop in the minors might not work … the current roster will not stay if the team can’t produce a winner soon, we already know this from past experience. I know the purse strings aren’t coming here for the top tier talent that it seems a lot of people are begging for, but something mid-level would be beneficial, namely an early to mid 30s guy with some pop left and has some postseason experience … not as a benchwarmer, mind you … who can guide these kids. The same goes for starting pitching: even someone like Kevin Millwood, who is still competent but will surely be cast out of Baltimore after the abysmal record he posted there, could help guide the starters who are there now. Maholm, Duke, and McDonald look like they are still bargains for the pricetag and are going to be key to getting the Bucs back to respectability, where they will begin to attract interest from other players to COME to the Steel City to play, since no one’s exactly chomping on the bit to come and pitch for a 105 loss team anyway. Morton is done here, in my opinion, and should be demoted to Siberia, we can clear that roster spot for one of the more promising minor leaguers. Ohlendorf could be trade bait for a new Gatorade cooler to help improve team morale. In short, mid-level talent CAN help this team, but it has to be guys with leadership skills .. and obviously, someone who will fit within the team’s tight budget.

3) There’s more to a manager than teaching the team how to win. It’s about teaching them to HATE losing, to refuse to accept it. This team raised the white flag too early this year, and a lot of that was because the manager let them. f I had to choose today, my best guess would be to pursue someone along the lines of Babby Valentine. I like te suggestions of Garner and Pena as well … BOTH former Pirates. I gotta tell ya, I’m tired of hearing Andy Van Slyke’s name. I LOVE Andy Van, and would love to see his face in the organization to get the rest of the tools he needs to be a manager, but I just don’t see him as ready yet.

1. Yes
2. No
3. What about Anfy Van Slyke and reverse the curse

John Russell did not deserve to be fired. He did as much as he could with what he was given to work with. This year the plan put in place began to bear at least some fruit. He should have been given the chance to see the plan through. The reasons for firing him didn’t hold any water.

Pitching was the main culprit this year. Need to get better. Paul Maholm and Zach Duke were major disappointments. The team stuck with them long enough. Get someone else until the farm system produces better pitchers.

The new manager should be someone with patience who can develop the players the farm system is producing and will produce. Then again, that describes John Russell.

Hey PITTSBURGH PIRATES…Bring my A~N~D~Y B~A~B~Y back to me….PLEASE!!! LOVE LOVE LOVE to see Andy Van Slyke coach our “kids” and bring us back to life…and YES I will be there to yell over the rail…”A~n~d~y B~a~b~y” and see his beautiful smile again!!!

You can’t start the season with your corner power infielders being Andy Laroche and Jeff Clement and expect to win. That is what Russel had to go to battle. You can’t possibly blame him, there are no tools there yet. That being said, he made some bone head moves during games that made no sense that probably cost them some wins, wins you need when your team is this bad.

Now we can look forward to another season of “we’re sorry, we will do better”. Ugh, enough is enough.

1. Did Russell deserve another year to see this rebuilding process through further, or did he need to go for the club to make positive strides in 2011?
The short answer is no. JR did not deserve another year. You can’t blame him too much for losing with the talent that was given to him but you sure can blame him for how they lost games thorugh his tenure. The complete lack of fundamentals on this team is astounding. From throwing to the wrong base, continual base running errors, and a general nonchalant attitude about it when it happens can all be placed squarely at his feet. This teams attitude and performance on the field became an image of his attitude in the dugout.

2) Who/what was most at fault for the Pirates’ 105-loss season?

You don’t lose 105 games with one thing being at fault. But it all goes back to pitching. Its hard to win with a staff ERA of 5. But even if they address the pitching they were also last in the league in runs scored. Hopefully, that will improve if Tabata, Alvarez, Walker, and McCutcheon continue to mature but thats putting alot of hope in “what ifs.”

3) What qualities do you want to see in a new manager?
A proven track record and a take no crap attitude. The players dont have to like they just have to perform for him. He is not there to be their friend or mentor he is there to win games. He should also be someone that demands to have full control over onfield baseball decisions. Unfortunately, This FO will never hire someone like that.

I don’t believe JR deserved the three years he had. I think all of upper management let the team down. When JR took over the Pirates they needed a strong field commander to demand a high level of accountability. He did not do this. When a “leader” tries to get along with everyone, he fails. Baseball fundamentals were missing at the major league level. Being able to bunt, run the bases or throw to the cut off man was a lost art in Pittsburgh. They need to start with holding up a ball and saying, gentlemen, this is a baseball.

1. Russell did not need any more time. He did his part to attempt to ressurect this team. These players need a more motivated “Rah Rah” type of manager. Most of the time, I wondered if JR even had a pulse in the dugout. HE was ejected from what? one game this year? Young players (who don’t get the veteran calls) need to see someone has their back on the field. They also need major league experience…because after all….the Buc’s are currently fielding a very good AAA team, that still needs to develop.

2. Most at fault for this 105 loss season is the old regime. I am encouraged to see the Huntington draft the best player available, as opposed to the best player, that the team can sign! Throughout the history of this team, the Bucs have a proud farm system, which the previous regime undermined, and made a mockery of. Since 1993, this organization has been more worried about pinching pennied than developing talent. That is changing, and as much as I complain about Huntington trading away all the club’s talent, it was obvious those that he rid the club of were not leaders, or fell into the “loser” mentality. What has Bay done since leaving?..Nady can barely make crack a starting lineup, and McLouth can’t match his 2008 start. Joey Bautista is, and was, an enigma with the Bucs, and it is yet to be seen if he can live up to this past season’s HR total. The organization will miss Sanchez and Wilson, who were the leaders…but were too old to make an impact with the current timeline.

3. ERIC WEDGE!!! Cleveland messed up (Shocker from Cleveland huh?) when they canned this guy! He turned an underdeveloped major league lineup, similar to what to our beloved Bucs have right now, and got them to within 1 game of the World Series, when the Indians eventually lost to the Red Sox in 2007. Cleveland dumped a ton of payroll in 2008/09 and left the guy with NO talent to compete. Then they made him the scapegoat and fired him. He didn’t make excuses, and didn’t blame the organization when they did it, which to me makes him a standup, loyal guy. That is exactly what the Bucco’s need!

1. JR had to go. More losses each season and easily the worst team in baseball this year with 105 is enough to fire anybody. Even if he was good (which I don’t think he was), a new manager had to come in for a fresh start. Also, the almost .500 home record against a record setting bad road record seemed to suggest the Pirates did have some talent, but the manager couldn’t help them adjust to the road.

2. Morton was a huge disappointment. Duke performed poorly which mgmt should have seen coming, Maholm way underperformed, and Ohlendorf struggling with injuries. The starting pitching gave the team no chance. The hitters at the start of the year also gave the Pirates little chance with guys like LaRoche, Clement, Milledge, Iwamura, and Cedeno as regulars. They had no chance for serious run production. They new guys brought some pop, but they were still a little undermanned offensively and couldn’t overcome the pitching woes.

3. A winner.

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