Macha interested in managing Pirates

Macha interested in managing Pirates

PITTSURGH -- While the Pirates front office remains tight-lipped as they proceed with a search to hire a new manager and key front office personnel, there is no hiding that the organization's search for a new skipper is in full swing.

It may be seem as somewhat surprising, however, that Ken Macha, someone with deep roots in Pittsburgh and a successful managerial background, hasn't been one of the names rumored to be on general manager Neal Huntington's list.

As of Thursday, Macha said that he had not been contacted by the organization regarding the managerial opening, though that's not to say that the former A's manager is not interested.

"I do have interest in managing again, and I've lived here my whole life," said Macha, who makes his home in Murrysville, Pa., just east of the city. "I know Pittsburgh as well as anybody. It obviously wouldn't be coming to Pittsburgh, it would be being here."

A combination of managerial credentials and western Pennsylvanian roots would, on the surface, appear to bode well for Macha, 57, who managed the Oakland A's from 2003-2006.

Macha's tenure as manager in Oakland put him in a spot to manage a team playing under a similar market size as Pittsburgh and under payroll restrictions not too different than those that the Pirates will face in the future. The A's payroll on Opening Day in 2003 just slightly exceeded the $50 million mark, and topped out at just over $62 million in Macha's final year in Oakland.

Macha's Minor League managerial experience further solidifies his credentials for having being able to groom young talent.

In his four years at the helm, the Pittsburgh native finished with an overall .568 winning percentage and led his club to the playoffs twice. Though he spent part of last year as a television analyst for the Boston Red Sox, Macha is itching to get back in uniform.

"One of the things that was a luxury about not managing this year was that I was able to see a lot of [Pirates] games on TV," said Macha, who interviewed for the Pirates managerial opening back in 2005, before Jim Tracy was named the franchise's 37th manager. "I probably saw 40 games or so and am very familiar with their personnel."

However, what could be working against Macha is the fact that he has no prior professional working relationship with Huntington. Many of the candidate's names who have surfaced as possible successors to Tracy have worked alongside Huntington in some previous professional capacity.

While his first priority would be to get back into managing, Macha has also begun to explore other options in case a call from Pittsburgh is not in the future.

"Being in the game that long, I enjoy the coaching aspect of it, and in order to get back, you want to make yourself visible," said Macha, who was drafted by the Pirates and spent seven years in the organization. "Obviously the Pirates have the last managerial job open, but if that fills up, you have to have some options. I have interest in managing again and have experience working in a small market with a small budget. But the bottom line is that you want to be wanted by the people that would be hiring you."

Asked if he had made contact with the Pirates organization, Macha deferred the question to his agent, Alan Nero, who, as of Thursday evening, had not returned messages left on his voicemail.

While Macha will continue to wait to see if the Pirates are interested in talking with him, Huntington has already conducted a handful of interviews this week. Though Huntington continues to neither confirm nor deny who has traveled to Pittsburgh for an interview, it is known that the Indians granted permission for their third-base coach, Joel Skinner, to interview for the position.

Also entering the list of potential replacements for Tracy is White Sox bench coach Joey Cora. The Chicago Tribune reported that Cora is expected to meet with Huntington this week.

Still believed to be on Huntington's list of candidates are Red Sox pitching coach John Farrell, Triple-A Indianapolis manager Trent Jewett, Philadelphia's Triple-A manager John Russell and possibly Dodgers bench coach Dave Jauss.

Though he is still in the middle of conducting interviews for the team's vacant managerial position, Huntington will head to Orlando, Fla., on Sunday night for the annual GM meetings next week.

As a result of the timing of the GM meetings, it appears that an announcement regarding the Pirates managerial hire, as well as other organization hires, will not occur until after Huntington returns. That would mean an announcement would likely come no earlier than next Friday.

"In a perfect world, I would like [the announcements] to come while I'm in Pittsburgh," Huntington said on Thursday. "But, if a decision is made while I'm not, there may be reason to make that announcement while I am away instead of having it leak [to the media]. But again, in an ideal world, it will come while I'm in Pittsburgh."

Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.