Over the weekend reports indicated that the Pittsburgh Pirates had two candidates, Derek Shelton and Matt Quatraro, tabbed as favorites. Jon Heyman of MLB.com has reported today that those two men are in fact the only ones still in the running for being the Pirates' next manager.
There are plenty of similarities between Quatraro and Shelton. Both made names for themselves as hitting coaches. Both recently became bench coaches and played a role in very successful seasons for their respective teams in 2019. Both were finalists for other managerial positions this off-season - Quatraro with the Giants, Shelton with the Mets.
With so many similarities, it's difficult to pick a favorite. I wrote yesterday that my dividing criteria is for sure splitting hairs, but all I really had to go by. That is that Quatraro's rise to bench coach happened almost exclusively within one team - the Tampa Bay Rays - while Shelton's steps upward came with new teams. So, there is an obvious effort from the Rays to keep Quatraro in the organization.
It was pointed out to me a few times on social media that Shelton was likely blocked, which prevented him from advancing in one organization. That's valid, and probably true. But, we're dealing with narrow differences between the two, and I haven't sat in on the interviews. So, that's what I'm basing my preference on. Not that it matters.
Heyman indicated in his report that a decision could be coming this week. We will keep you updated when that happens.
Follow Jared on Twitter: @a_piratelife