Pirates' Manager Search: Two Candidates Emerge as Favorites

The Pittsburgh Pirates have rebooted their managerial search after hiring general manager, Ben Cherington.

Now that the Pirates have hired a GM, they are on to deciding who the team's next manager will be. The search was started by former GM, Neal Huntington, and will be concluded by the new hire, Ben Cherington. We haven't heard much from the managerial search since Huntington's firing, but a recent report from ESPN says that two candidates have emerged as favorites.

Derek Shelton, the Twins bench coach, and Matt Quatraro, the Rays bench coach, are currently the favorites to win the job according to ESPN's Enrique Rojas. Rojas also reported that Joey Cora, the Pirates current third base coach, has been informed that he is not going to be in consideration despite interviewing for the position last month.

I mentioned in an earlier article that Shelton's connection to Ben Cherington would strengthen his candidacy if Cherington was hired. Cherington was also reportedly impressed with the list of candidates that the Pirates brought in. So, despite the fact that bringing in new options is at his discretion, it doesn't seem like he feels there is a need to.

Shelton and Quatraro's coaching career paths have been pretty similar in that both made names for themselves as hitting coaches before getting promotions to their current positions as bench coaches. Both are also looking for their first opportunities to skipper a major league team.

I like Quatraro's resume a little bit more though, and here's why (it's splitting hairs a bit). Quatraro kept getting promoted by one (very successful) team, while Shelton's promotion all came with new teams. That may mean nothing, but one way to make sure you don't lose a guy to another team is to promote him and the Rays have essentially promoted Quatraro three times. There must be a good reason the Rays saw fit to make sure he stayed in Tampa. 

I've said this before but it's worth repeating, successful teams are not successful by accident. They can identify, acquire, develop, and deploy talent (I heard you, Ben).

In contrast, Shelton's promotions all came by way of him leaving one team and taking a better job elsewhere. Of the four teams that Shelton has worked for, not one has promoted him. Again, this doesn't have to mean anything but, when I'm looking at two candidates with very similar resumes, I'm leaning towards the guy who impressed his employer enough that they kept giving him new opportunities.

In terms of their resume and experience, it's a tie for me. The tie-breaker is in the trust I have in the decision-makers within the Rays' organization. They have done all they could to keep Matt Quatraro. Now, it's time for the Pirates to steal the treasure they are trying to bury in their organization and hire Quatraro.

We will follow-up with more once additional details on the Pirates' manager search become available.

Follow Jared on Twitter: @a_piratelife

Comments (3)
No. 1-2
Piratefan1970
Piratefan1970

Liked the article and the background info. Glad to see a couple of names even if I don't know who they are. The only thing I wonder is if Shelton was blocked at the organizations he left. Otherwise, I like your reasoning. Really is splitting hairs but hopefully that's the depth the new management gets to.

Gary Morgan Jr.
Gary Morgan Jr.

I long since stopped believing I'd recognize the names, this helps alot. Great column.