In a move that correlates well with the Pittsburgh Pirates‘ hot start, the team and manager Derek Shelton agreed on a contract extension on Saturday. Terms of the contract were not made available to the public. Shelton’s contract was due to expire after the 2023 season. While this news isn’t a total shock, Shelton was among the favorites to be the first manager fired at the outset of the season. The Pirates’ hot start and this extension essentially ended that possibility.
Shelton is in the fourth season of his Pirates career. Pittsburgh is his first managerial job. He’s spent time as a hitting coach, quality control coach, and bench coach for other major league organizations. Criticizing his managerial ability to this point seems shallow. He’s been handed some very talent-deprived rosters in his first three seasons. The Pittsburgh Pirates are beginning to ascend from their rebuild into becoming what they hope is contention in the years ahead. General manager Ben Cherington has done a good job of hammering home the plan and sticking to it.
Derek Shelton Extension is Good for the Pirates
Every manager has flaws. There is no denying that. Shelton’s bullpen management hasn’t always been the best. His in-game moves leave you shaking your head from time to time. A lot of this, however, happened in his first three seasons when his teams were lacking the pieces necessary to compete. So far this season, his decisions have been nearly flawless as the Pirates sit pretty in the standings. Derek Shelton is certainly deserving of this extension.
With a young team, they need a manager with a good message that believes in them. It’s pretty clear so far that the Pirates’ core believes in Shelton. Veterans like Andrew McCutchen, Carlos Santana, and Rich Hill certainly seem to embrace what Shelton does as a leader. Core players like Bryan Reynolds and Ke’Bryan Hayes are effusively praised by Shelton. Even the Pirates’ young players finding their way are clearly buying into what Shelton is selling them.
Derek Shelton. Owner of a new contract as manager of the Pirates. pic.twitter.com/686mZGHjmB
— Dan Zangrilli (@DanZangrilli) April 22, 2023
Instead of taking credit for the Pirates’ culture, Shelton took a more broad approach and lauded the organization as a whole.
“We’ve worked really hard over three years,” Shelton said. “We’ve made some difficult trades, we’ve acquired some people, we’ve taken our lumps. So the fact that organizationally, the commitment to how we’ve gone about the plan we put in place four years ago, it’s working. We’ve worked really hard over three years. We need to continue to focus every day to get better.”
At 52 years old, the Pirates have one of the older managers in baseball. He got his chance as a manager a bit later on in his career than most of his peers. He’s still been everything the Pirates have needed and more.
Photo Credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports
Managers Mentioned: Derek Shelton