Here's a trivia question for you, Dear Readers ... What do Jim Riggleman, Patsy Donovan, and Jimmy McAleer have in common?
Wait, before you begin to rack your brain for the answer, here's a small hint, via TribLive:
The Pirates are ready to give manager Clint Hurdle a one-year contract extension.
A source confirmed to the Tribune-Review that Hurdle will be re-signed through the 2014 season with an option for 2015. The official announcement is expected Tuesday or Wednesday, when owner Bob Nutting will visit spring training camp.
Hurdle declined to comment specifically on his new deal, other than to say he and the Pirates are discussing terms.
Okay, back to our trivia question. Clint Hurdle ranks 80th on the all-time list with 1,483 games managed. His teams have won 46.2 percent of those games. Among the 79 managers with more games than Hurdle, three have won a lower percentage: Jimmy McAleer (.453), Patsy Donovan (.438) and Jim Riggleman (.445).
Hurdle's entering his 11th season as a manager. Here's one way to look at his first 10 seasons ...
Losing Seasons: 9
Winning Seasons: 1
To be sure, Hurdle's not been blessed with star-studded rosters. Still, you have to wonder if, when you've got a manager who's had 10 shots at a winning season and converted just once, maybe it's time to give somebody else a shot. Now, Hurdle was already signed through 2013; this latest news doesn't change anything at all for this season. But from my admittedly 2,500-miles-away perspective, I probably would have jettisoned Hurdle after two straight second-half collapses. Even if I couldn't put my finger on exactly what, if anything, Hurdle contributed to those collapses. Here's the sensible take on Hurdle's new deal, via Bucs Dugout (and featuring scary image):
This isn't exactly big news. Despite our frustrations with Hurdle, he wasn't on the hot seat. It might signal that Hurdle won't be made a scapegoat if the Pirates have a disappointing season in 2013, but it might not -- managers don't make much money, and it's not that big a deal to eat a year of a contract if you have to. Anyway, I wouldn't read much into this.
I guess I shouldn't, either. These days, a lot of teams feel compelled to extend a guy, even if they're not in love with him, if only to avoid having to answer questions about his status all season long. Here's my guess, though: Clint Hurdle gets paid pretty good money in 2014 to not manage the Pittsburgh Pirates. You know what they say: Past performance is the best predictor of future performance.