Matt Walbeck is 40 years old, was named Eastern League Manager of the Year and just led the Altoona Curve to the Eastern League Championship. Wednesday night the Pirates informed him that he was not being brought back in any capacity within the organization.
It appears maybe the organization felt that Walbeck's career ambitions didn't fit well with what the Pirates have planned. It seems a bit odd and is certainly going to open the management team to more bad P.R., as Walbeck certainly appears to have done a lot of things right in Altoona.
UPDATE by Charlie: Cory Giger at the Altoona Mirror has more. There are still some questions left unanswered, such as why, exactly, if the Pirates didn't have a spot for Walbeck at a level higher than AA, they didn't at least offer him the AA job back. They clearly had some issues with his performance that will probably not be revealed to us.
UPDATE by Charlie: Dejan Kovacevic says that Walbeck wasn't down with the player-development plan:
And management did so with full conviction, according to multiple sources Thursday, because of a long-held internal view that Walbeck was not fully following the prescribed development programs of the minor-league system. Most notable, according to the sources, was a lack of extra work before games. Another was a lack of communication with players and the Pirates' staff ...
According to the sources, the Pirates were disappointed with Walbeck in 2009 but decided to give him a second chance.