Friday, September 07, 2007

Dave Littlefield's tenure, 2001-2007

If you're looking for an over joyous reaction piece to Littlefield's firing, that just went up at FanHouse. But I think a lot of you already know the stuff that's written there, so let's dig a little deeper into this. First, let's hit up the key thoughts from this firing

  1. Awesome.
  2. About. Damn. Time.
  3. Seriously, why is this happening now? Why wait all second half to tell us his job would be reevaluated at the end of the year, let him stay for the deadline and make the Morris deal, and then fire him now with 3 weeks left in the year?
My dad's explanation for this was simple; Nutting already has a CEO. No new executive wants to start with heads rolling. He doesn't want his name to be the one that Dave Littlefield will put with the day he lost his job. And besides, why waste even ten minutes on a guy who's future is a foregone conclusion. Fire him now, and the first thing that will happen under the new CEO will be a move towards building up instead of tearing down.

I think that's as good a guess as any, honestly. This wasn't a decision Nutting was ever going to make on his own, it was one he was planning on leaving up to the baseball people. But as we've all speculated for months, a new CEO means a new GM and a new GM likely means a new manager. There's only so much time to take care of that kind of stuff in the off-season. Tracy was hired almost immediately after he was let out of his contract in LA, which happened almost immediately after the World Series. If the new CEO is going to be immediately announced after the season ends, he's still going to have to move quickly to hire a GM and if that GM wants a new manager, he's going to have to move even faster. So why not cut out all of the unnecessary fat between now and then to move this process along?

Whatever happens, the Pirates can only take a lateral move from here. Littlefield's lack of vision (or at the very most, poor vision) in assembling his team has been one of the Pirates' biggest obstacles (depending on how much you blame ownership for certain things, I guess). Six years after he took over, the major league talent on the field is no better than it was when he got here and the cupboard in the minors is even emptier than it was before. We can moan about him getting six years before anyone recognized he was a bad GM, but that's over now. All we can do, and all the Pirates can do, is move on and hopefully move forward. It shouldn't be hard though, because I doubt we can go much further backwards.