Those sources strongly suggested Saturday that the team will not have Russell return in his current capacity for 2011, the final year of his contract, but that general manager Neal Huntington, whose contract also runs that long, is expected to remain. The decisions, which are being made by team president Frank Coonelly in consultation with owner Bob Nutting, should become known early this week.
This possibility has been rumored all summer, so this is no surprise. We've already talked about this a lot. The really significant thing here, though, is that although Huntington will stay on, firing Russell is a warning to him too. He'll have probably only a couple more years to show his plan can work, because the firing of a manager can often mean trouble for a general manager - especially, I'm guessing, when the GM isn't even involved in the decision.
It's good timing for the Pirates, incidentally, that this news came out right before a Steelers game.