BRADENTON, Fla. -- The Pirates' plans to extend Clint Hurdle's contract do not come as a total surprise. Hurdle has led the team to a 22-win improvement during the past two seasons and was entering the final year of his contract this season. He did have an option for 2014.
The extension also does not mean his job is safe. Major league manager's salaries are not prohibitive to the point that teams will hesitate to fire them before their contracts have expired.
The extension could help keep questions about Hurdle's contract status at bay, especially if the Pirates struggle on the field. It also sends a message to the players, Clint Barmes said.
"I’m excited, especially this early in camp to hear that they made a move and decided to go in this direction," Barmes said. "Obviously very excited for him and his family but it’s good for the city, its good for all of us."
Barmes, who played for the Rockies when they fired Hurdle in 2009, said the players knew Hurdle losing his job was possible before the season started.
"When we went through a rough start and they chose to go a different direction, we were all feeling it," he said. "We were feeling it too going into the season. Everybody knew that if we didn't get off to a good start, that that was a possibility."
The fact remains that Hurdle has one winning season out of 10 as a manager and was in charge while the Pirates fell from contention in both 2011 and '12.
"We have gotten our team mentality and our environment in a place that it needs to be, but again, you're always working to fufill a dream, and the dream of every man out here right now is to be a part of a championship team and a championship organization," Hurdle said.
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