Could this former Pirate someday challenge Dave Wannstedt for the title of Best Mustache among Pittsburgh coaches? If it were up to him, the answer sounds like it would be a resounding "yes".
Phil "Scrap Iron" Garner, a member of the Pirates from 1977-1981 and three-time MLB manager, had this to say to Sirius XM radio about the vacant job:
I have absolutely no idea what Garner's talking about, but I can tell you that I'd love to be a fly on the wall at a meeting where a candidate hoping to get hired outlines all the things his prospective bosses are doing wrong.
Garner certainly has experience, with 2,041 career games managed and two trips to the postseason in parts of 15 seasons on the bench. He holds a lifetime record of 985-1,054 (.483), eventually fired in all three managerial jobs he held, including Milwaukee (1992-1999), Detroit (2000-2002), and Houston (2004-2007). He managed the NL squad in the 2006 All-Star Game in Pittsburgh and went to the World Series with the 2005 Astros.
Let's face reality: Garner knows there are only 30 of these jobs on the planet, and very few of them come up from year to year. Three seasons have passed since he's managed at the MLB level, and he could be very close to becoming an afterthought in conversations like these down the road. If he can do it in a place that he's familiar with, despite the difficult circumstances, it sounds like he's ready to pounce on the job if it's offered.
The PG's Chuck Finder also identified a few other candidates for the job outside of the previously mentioned Eric Wedge, Juan Samuel, and Garner. Murrysville's Ken Macha is sitting out there after being let go by Milwaukee, but the Pirates already passed on chances to hire him in 2005 and 2007. He would seem like a longshot. Red Sox pitching coach John Farrell's name has been dropped, but leaving that organization for this one, even for a promotion, might not be in the cards either.
San Diego bench coach Ted Simmons, the Pirates' GM in 1992 and 1993, also threw his hat in the ring, but I can't see bringing back the man who transitioned the team from their last winning era into whatever era we've been in for the last 18 seasons. Other names in the rumor mill include former Pirates Dave Clark, Tony Pena, Dale Sveum, and Willie Randolph, implying that being a member of the organization in the past holds some weight.
Wedge would seem to be the favorite considering his Huntingtonian ties, but he's already interviewed with several other teams and could force the Pirates to make a quick decision. I don't think that's necessarily a bad thing, and for what it's worth I think that Wedge sounds like a reasonable choice to replace John Russell. The interview process seems like it will continue, but I just have a feeling that this will get done sooner rather than later.
Mondesi's House: The Director's Cut (more links, commentary, etc): twitter.com/mondesishouse