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The Pirates have narrowed their search to replace Clint Hurdle as manager.
As first reported by MLB.com, their final two candidates are Minnesota Twins bench coach Derek Shelton and Tampa Bay Rays bench coach Matt Quatraro, team sources confirmed to the Post-Gazette.
Shelton, 49, was hitting coach with the Cleveland Indians from 2005 to 2009, then had the same position with the Rays from 2010 to 2016 before the Twins brought him on as bench coach in 2017.
Quatraro, 46, played in the Rays’ minor league system and became a coach in 2004. He worked at various positions with Tampa from 2004 to 2013 before he joining Terry Francona’s staff with the Indians from 2014 to 2017 as an assistant hitting coach. Quatraro returned to the Rays for the 2018 season as third base coach and became bench coach for 2019.
Pirates pitcher Dario Agrazal pitches against the Cubs in the first inning Wednesday, Sept. 25 2019, at PNC Park.
Pirates trade Dario Agrazal to Tigers for cash
Both men are highly respected in baseball circles and have experience winning in small markets.
The decision to focus on Quatraro and Shelton eliminates internal candidates such as third base coach Joey Cora and special assistant Jeff Banister.
According to sources, the Pirates are hoping to finalize a decision by the end of the week. Whomever the manager is will have to work quickly to build his staff.
The Pirates still need to hire a bench coach and a pitching coach. The manager, along with general manager Ben Cherington, will also have to decide the fates of the remaining staff members like Cora, hitting coach Rick Eckstein, and first base coach Kimera Bartee.
Rock the vote
Major League Baseball is rolling out a new kind of award — the 2019 All-MLB Team — and Pirates fans can vote for Josh Bell until 5 p.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 3.
Unlike the All-Star Game, this particular honor is designed to incorporate the entire season. It will include two separate teams, regardless of league. Winners will be announced on Tuesday, Dec. 10, at the Winter Meetings in San Diego.
Tampa Bay Rays third base coach Matt Quatraro stands on the field during a game against the Baltimore Orioles, Friday, May 11, 2018, in Baltimore.
Breaking down the Pirates’ next manager: Derek Shelton vs. Matt Quatraro
Fans can vote once every 24 hours at MLB.com. Winners will be determined by fan vote and a panel of media members, broadcasters, former players and other officials throughout the game.
There will be three outfielders selected — regardless of position — along with a normal infield, a designated hitter, five starting pitchers and two relief pitchers.
Bell ranks third among eligible first baseman with 37 home runs. He’s fourth in RBIs (116) and third in OPS (.936).