The Pittsburgh Pirates had already and following their worst season since 2010. Yet the organization isn't done clearing house. On Monday, the Pirates announced the dismal of general manager Neal Huntington. Kevan Graves will serve as interim general manager during the club's search to fill the vacancy.
"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," team owner Bob Nutting said in a statement. "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."
Huntington had been the Pirates general manager dating back to the end of the 2007 season. In his 12-plus years on the job, he succeeded in building a playoff-caliber Pirates team. In fact, he did it three years in a row, with Pittsburgh reaching the postseason in 2013-15. Those teams were unable to win a playoff series, and with the last two trips ending in the Wild Card Game.
The time since hasn't been as kind to Huntington's efforts. The Pirates had finished in fourth in consecutive seasons leading into this year, when the bottom fell out. Throughout the season, the Pirates faced numerous controversies -- closer Felipe Vazquez was arrested; multiple clubhouse fights occurred; and the team collapsed during the second half, wasting a 44-45 first half by going 25-48 after the All-Star Game.
It surely didn't help Huntington that he made two big trades that failed to pay off for the Pirates: Gerrit Cole being sent to the Houston Astros for an underwhelming four-player package, and later shipping Austin Meadows, Tyler Glasnow and Shane Baz to the Tampa Bay Rays for Chris Archer. Cole has since ascended to being one of the best pitchers in baseball, while Archer's stock has plummeted.
The Pirates recently hired Travis Williams as their new club president, replacing Coonelly. Williams had previously worked with the Pittsburgh Penguins. Now, Williams will be among those tasked with finding both: a new GM and a new skipper.