Clint Hurdle is best known as the longest tenured manager in Colorado Rockies history. Hurdle began his managerial career in the Mets system back in 1988, managing their Single-A team for two seasons, their Double-A squad for two seasons, and finally their Triple-A club for two seasons. He then spent 1994-96 as the minor league hitting coordinator for the Rockies before becoming their major league hitting coach in 1997. (Hurdle pulled double duty in 1997 and 1998, also acting as the team’s first base coach.) Hurdle became the Rockies manager mid-season 2002 and served in that position until being fired mid-2009, taking the team to the World Series in 2007. He spent 2010 as the hitting coach for the AL Champion Texas Rangers. Hurdle earns himself a 104 on the managerial experience scale, the highest of any candidate being interviewed by the Mets.
Hurdle played ten years in the major leagues as an outfielder, first baseman, and occasionally even a catcher. He played with the Kansas City Royals for five seasons, showing promise with a 116 OPS+, doubles power and decent plate disciple, and even appeared on the cover of Sports Illustrated. Hurdle also put up an .845 OPS in 38 postseason plate appearances with the Royals, including a .500 on-base percentage in the 1980 World Series. However, he fell apart after leaving Kansas City, posting a 68 OPS+ in five partial seasons in the National League, including a .195 average in scattered parts of three seasons with the Mets. Hurdle was worth 3 wins above replacement for his major league career.
Strategically, Hurdle likes to call for bunts … no, that’s not it. Hurdle loves to call for bunts. Loves it. His Rockies led the National League in sacrifice hits in 2008, 2007 and 2006, and finished third in 2005 and 2004. Colorado had a whopping 119 sacrifices in 2006, and between 2006-08, the Rockies laid down 58 more bunts than any other team in the NL. And remember: the Colorado Rockies play in the best hitter’s park in baseball. He makes Jerry Manuel look like Bill James. Hurdle called for an acceptable number of intentional walks, and his teams were pretty good on the basepaths. He gets a 5 on the strategy scale — which will go up if he lays off the bunts.
Hurdle has a confusing resume. He managed the Rockies for parts of eight seasons and took them to the World Series in 2007 — that’s a lot of experience managing. He was often the face of the franchise. However, his teams had losing records EVERY SEASON except for the magical 2007. He began his managerial career with five straight losing seasons, which I believe is a record. He wasn’t always the best judge of talent on his roster, but he wasn’t always given a great deal of talent to work with, either. He was the right manager for a franchise that was moving out from under several albatross contracts earlier in the decade, but Hurdle couldn’t repeat the crazy run of 2007. He was fired for the poor play of his players in 2008 and 2009. It was simply time for a new voice, nothing more.
Managerial Odds: 6 to 1. Hurdle has significant experience, never complained about the often lackluster rosters he was given in Colorado, and has ties with the Mets organization already. He makes a lot of sense for an Alderson run team, provided he can stop bunting so #*$%* much.