The Pirates recently named Ben Cherington their new general manager, and his first order of business was to find himself a new manager. He's now done so. The Pirates officially announced Wednesday that Derek Shelton will be their manager for the 2020 season and beyond.
Shelton, 49, was the Twins' bench coach for the past two seasons. Prior to that he was the Blue Jays quality control coach for a year and from 2010-16 he was the Rays' hitting coach. Before that, he was the Indians' hitting coach from 2005-09. He was a minor-league catcher in the Yankees' organization in 1992-93.
"I have known Derek for more than 15 years and have great admiration for his passion for the game and players, work ethic, curiosity, and desire to learn," Cherington said in a statement. "He has worked and learned from some of the best in the game, and in turn has helped players and colleagues learn and improve during his 20 years of coaching and managing. We are confident Derek will help lead an elite playing and coaching environment at the Major League level and be a true partner to all of baseball operations as we challenge each other to get better every day. I want to thank our entire baseball operations group for their tireless work over the past several weeks of this search. We are thrilled to get to work with Derek and continue building toward a winning team in Pittsburgh."
The move means the Twins' coaching staff has been absolutely depleted from last season. They have lost their bench coach (Shelton), hitting coach (James Rowson), assistant pitching coach (Jeremy Hefner), hitting coordinator (Peter Fatse) and catching coordinator (Tanner Swanson).
On the Pirates' end, they get a well respected baseball mind to serve as their new manager through what looks like a rebuild.
"My family and I are thrilled to have the opportunity to join the Pittsburgh community and are humbled to be a part of this storied franchise," Shelton said. "One of the most exciting things for me during the interview process was just how evident the passion for Pittsburgh and the desire to succeed was with everyone I interacted with.
"...I very much look forward to developing a strong partnership with Ben and the baseball operations staff. It is going to be an exciting change of culture in our clubhouse. It is going to be a fun environment in which we will all be held accountable to each other. It will be a player-centric culture built on strong communication and relationships with our players, our staff and the entire organization."
Shelton is taking over for Clint Hurdle, who was let go after the 2019 season following a nine-year run in Pittsburgh. Hurdle led the Pirates to the playoffs for three straight seasons from 2013-2015, but they never got past the NLDS. The Pirates went 69-93 in 2019, marking their worst season since 2010.