The Pirates could deliver their decision on manager Jim Tracy and his staff today, general manager Neal Huntington said yesterday, but two factors could foil that.
One, Major League Baseball frowns upon teams making significant announcements during the playoffs, and clearance would have to come from commissioner Bud Selig's office. No permission was sought as of last night, and Huntington said he was uncertain how long it takes once the team asks.
"This all might happen later rather than sooner," Huntington said. "What the commissioner's preference would be and how long it would take to find that out, I don't know yet. ... And that's even if I'm ready to make a final decision."
That is the second reason nothing might happen today.
"I'm not there yet," he said. "If you ask me if I can rule out that it could happen [today], no, I can't rule it out. But I think it's doubtful."
If no announcement is made today, it would not happen over the weekend, thus pushing it to next week.
Huntington confirmed that his announcement could involve more than just the manager and coaching staff.
"There is a series of decisions to be made," he said. "Is there a possibility that other personnel could be involved there? Yes. Again, no final decisions have been made. But there are elements that are interconnected, and it is a big puzzle. It's not one decision in a vacuum."
Among the matters Huntington likely is weighing is the fate of the top two baseball men under former general manager Dave Littlefield, assistant Doug Strange and director of baseball operations Jon Mercurio. Each was bypassed by owner Bob Nutting upon Littlefield's firing last month, when director of player development Brian Graham was elevated to interim general manager.
It is possible that, because of the commissioner's restrictions, the Pirates are attempting to announce all major moves at once.
Tracy, who has not returned calls all week, has remained in Pittsburgh, as he lives in the South Hills. But most of the coaches are believed to have returned to their homes across the country.
Huntington acknowledged he has not met with Tracy or any of the coaching staff since Monday.
No one on the staff has received permission to speak to other teams in the interim.