The Pittsburgh Pirates have given manager Clint Hurdle a contract extension through the 2014 season, with a club option for 2015. Hurdle's contract was set to expire after the 2013 season. Under Hurdle, the Pirates are 151-173 and have finished in fourth place in the NL Central in back to back seasons.
Now, here's why I think this extension is silly: it's not essential. The Pirates have collapsed in the second half in each of Hurdle's two seasons at the helm of the club, and tensions are growing high in Pittsburgh. The fanbase wants to cheer for a winner, and if they don't finish above .500 in 2013, there's likely going to be a massive housecleaning. So why give Hurdle a contract extension now, after two mediocre seasons with a potential shakeup looming?
It doesn't make any sense for the Pirates to commit to Hurdle past this year considering he's really done nothing with the club. You can point to the team's consecutive fourth place finishes as a sign of improvement, but you could also argue the only reason that they're that high is because of the full-blown rebuilding operations in Chicago and Houston. With the Astros out of the picture in the NL Central this year, the Pirates could end up losing some easy wins from their record and taking a step back despite the improvements they've made in recent years. And if the team does want to blow everything up if they're unsucessful in 2013, they'll be paying two managers in 2014: Hurdle (due to his guaranteed contract) and his successor, something that a small market team like Pittsburgh can ill-afford to do.