Matt Walbeck wins Double-A manager of the year, gets fired by the Pirates
Former big-league catcher Matt Walbeck was recently named Double-A manager of the year after guiding Altoona to the Eastern League championship, but last night the Pirates fired him. Walbeck told Cory Giger of the Altoona Mirror that he was “surprised” by the move and received no clear explanation for the Pirates’ decision:
Walbeck has a .543 winning percentage, four manager of the year awards, and three championships in six seasons as a minor league manager and the 41-year-old has made it clear that he’d like to move up the organizational ladder, but said his conversation with the Pirates “never got there” because “they made up their mind.” Meanwhile, the Pirates declined to comment on the move, and in fact general manager Neal Huntington and farm director Kyle Stark issued identical statements when responding to different reporters. The matching statements read: “We appreciate Matt’s efforts and wish him the best in his future endeavors but felt that it was best that we allow him to pursue other opportunities.” Dejan Kovacevic of the Pittsburgh Post Gazette did some further digging and talked to “a source who declined to be identified” but had this to say:
Which happens first, Walbeck gets a major-league manager gig or the Pirates have a winning season?