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Frank Coonelly gone as Pirates’ Team President

MLB: Milwaukee Brewers at Pittsburgh Pirates Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

This morning it was announced that the Pittsburgh Pirates and Team President, Frank Coonelly, mutually agreed to part ways.

There are two main things to grasp from this news release. One, this a was mutual break up. Coonelly was not exactly “fired” because of the Pirates’ disappointing performances over the past four seasons. He too, wanted out. In fact, I would speculate that he wanted to move on more than the Pirates and Bob Nutting wanted him to.

Dejan Kovacevic of reported that Coonelly could be on his way to the MLB Commissioner’s office which would obviously make for a logical reason for his departure.

The second paragraph from Coonelly in the news release is also telling. “As we worked through a comprehensive assessment of everything that we do, I undertook an honest self-evaluation. While not an easy conclusion to reach, I ultimately decided that the best interests of the Pirates would be served if the Club had a new leader who would bring new ideas and a new direction.”

When has a member of the Pirates’ front office ever taken “an honest self-evaluation” of what they do? To me, this sounds like a person who didn’t want to work for the team anymore and ate a piece of humble pie to help orchestrate his exit.

The Pirates aren’t parting with Coonelly because they feel the position would be better suited by someone new. If that were the case, he would’ve been fired before the Pirates negotiated a new TV deal a few weeks ago. Coonelly wanted out perhaps because he has a new job lined up. Bottom line, Coonelly would still be the Pirates’ Team President if he wanted to be.

This brings us to the second takeaway from this news release. The Pirates say they will introduce a new Team President on Monday. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette’s Jason Mackey says that General Manager Neal Huntington is not a candidate for the job.

Something seems weird about this. The Pirates obviously have a candidate lined up or else they wouldn’t put such a short due date on finding that person. Did Coonelly have an input on finding his successor? If Huntington is not a candidate for the President job, how can we assume that he’s safe to continue as GM? How long will the new process of sorting out the front office halt the process of finding a new manager?

We’ll know more when the Pirates announce a new Team President on Monday, but for now, a ton of pressing questions regarding the team’s futures still surround this club.


Jason Mackey has reported that current New York Islanders’ President of Business Operations, Travis Williams, is expected to be the next Team President for the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Williams was the Pittsburgh Penguins’ former Chief Operating Officer and spent 11 years in the organization before joining the Islanders last year.