The Rockies are bringing former manager Clint Hurdle back to the organization as a special assistant to general manager Bill Schmidt, as Tracy Ringolsby first reported at Inside The Seams. He’ll start his new role Jan. 1, per Ringolsby. MLB.com’s Thomas Harding adds that Hurdle will focus, in particular, on player development.
As is so often the case with Rockies, their latest front-office hire is a key figure who is well known by owner Dick Monfort. Hurdle managed the Rockies from 2002-09, during which time Colorado appeared in its lone World Series (2007). Prior to that, he’d served as the team’s Major League hitting coach and a minor league hitting instructor.
Hurdle’s Rockies couldn’t recapture that 2007 form in 2008, finishing the season with a 74-88 record as they tried to weather injuries to both Todd Helton and Troy Tulowitzki. After an 18-28 start to the ’09 season, Hurdle was dismissed as the team’s skipper and offered a new role elsewhere in the organization. Ultimately, however, the two sides parted ways. Just two seasons later, Hurdle was managing the Pirates, where he’d serve as skipper from 2011-19 — an even lengthier run than the one he enjoyed in Colorado.
The Athletic’s Nick Groke chatted with Hurdle back in June, gauging the former skipper’s interest to returning to a Rockies organization that was now in transition. Hurdle wouldn’t directly confirm interest from the team or a willingness to return, though he alluded to both in calling Denver a “special place” and noting that there were “only a couple places that I would leave my family and my home to embark on something new.”
Ringolsby notes that Hurdle’s new role will still allow the now-64-year-old former skipper to spend time with his family in addition to his role with the team. He’ll still bring an experienced voice — it’s been more than 45 years since the Royals drafted Hurdle with the No. 9 overall pick in 1975 — to a Rockies front office that has seen a good bit of turnover in recent months.
Jeff Bridich was ousted as general manager early in the season, and assistant GMs Zach Wilson and Jon Weil left the organization not long after. Schmidt, the longtime scouting director in Colorado, was elevated to interim GM and then formally named GM on the penultimate day of the regular season — before the Rockies even had the opportunity to talk with candidates from other organizations.