The New York Post reported today that the New York Mets have started their manager search, and included a note about Clint Hurdle:
Alderson evidently has not begun contacting candidates from outside the organization. That could preclude former Rockies manager Clint Hurdle, who is a finalist for the Pirates’ job, from getting an interview. According to sources, Hurdle would like to know if he is a candidate for the Mets job before he faces a potential decision on the Pittsburgh opening. The Pirates are believed to be close to offering the job to either Hurdle or Jeff Banister.
The article doesn’t really paint a picture that Hurdle is a favorite for the job, or even a lock to be interviewed. There was a report that Sandy Alderson, the new GM for the Mets, would start interviewing external candidates next week, and that Hurdle would be one of the candidates interviewed. There is also a report that Todd Collins could be the favorite or a strong front runner for the Mets’ job, and that other interviews are just the Mets covering their bases.
All signs point to Hurdle as being the favorite for the Pirates’ position. The Pirates went for a long time without making a move on the manager front, then immediately interviewed Hurdle following the World Series. They indicated that a decision could have come as soon as Friday, only one day after interviewing Hurdle. Now there’s reports that Hurdle wants to see if he’s a candidate for the Mets before making any potential decisions, and I doubt he would talk that way about the job if he wasn’t a strong candidate to be offered the position.
Hurdle waiting is smart, as he’s more or less a free agent, and should consider any possible destination. The question is whether the Pirates would wait for him if he decides to wait on the Mets. The Mets process is said to be a long one, possibly lasting a month. Even though Collins, who interviews this weekend, is said to be the favorite, they’ve got a lot of interviews lined up. At the least, the Mets won’t make a decision for the next week, and maybe longer than that. That doesn’t necessarily mean Hurdle would be in the running for that entire period of time. However, if Hurdle waits too long, you would have to think that the Pirates would either move on to Jeff Banister, or check on some additional candidates, which is something they haven’t ruled out.