As previously reported by Dejan Kovacevic and Jarrod Prugar, the Pirates have relieved Michael Ryan of his managerial duties for Class-AA Altoona Monday. Many of his former pupils in the Pirates' clubhouse reacted to the news.
"It sucks," Cole Tucker was telling me. "It’s a sad day for the players who played for him."
Tucker was part of the Curve's 2017 Eastern League Championship team and spent all of 2018 with Ryan in Altoona.
In 2018, he became teammates with newcomer Bryan Reynolds.
"That’s too bad that that had to happen," Reynolds was telling me in front of his locker, adding that he enjoyed his time in Altoona. "I’m sure he’ll bounce back, figure something out.”
Almost all of Reynolds' minor league coaching in the Pirates' farm system came from Ryan and his staff. After spending all of 2018 in Altoona, he was promoted to the majors after just 13 games in AAA Indianapolis this year.
A source told Dejan that Ryan was removed as manager because he "didn’t do enough culture development with player plans and other Hoka Hey nonsense.”
"It was a good environment to me," outfielder Jason Martin would tell me. "...He was a good coach."
Martin enjoyed his best offensive campaign in Altoona in 2018, recording a .913 OPS in 68 games in his first stop in the Pirates' farm system after being acquired in the Gerrit Cole trade that winter. His performance warranted a promotion to AAA mid-season in 2018 and being added to the 40-man roster this past offseason.
Larry Broadway, the Pirates' director of player development, said in a statement they have discussed other potential roles for Ryan in the organization, but they were not as a manager. He added Ryan is exploring his options with other clubs.
"I'm sure they had their reasons," Tucker said. "... All I know is I had a great time playing for him and that he's a great coach and a great individual."