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Curve manager Forbes out after two seasons, won't return to Pirates organization
October 31, 2012 - Cory Giger
P.J. Forbes accomplished the Pirates' goal of finishing strong this season with the Curve, winning the final six games to top the .500 mark, but his tenure in Altoona and with the organization is now finished.
"I've got nothing bad to say about the organization or about my time in Altoona," Forbes said by phone Wednesday night.
"I loved my two years there," he added.
The Pirates did not plan to have Forbes return to the Curve next year and instead offered him another position in the organization.
"I told them, 'Thank you, but no thanks,'" Forbes said.
Neither Forbes nor Pirates assistant general manager Kyle Stark would say what position was offered, but it apparently was dropping to a lower level.
Forbes said he was "disappointed more than anything" about the Pirates' job offer. Did he feel like it was a demotion?
"Any time you go backwards, yes," he said.
"Yes, it would have been going to another level. But you know, I don't think that was the deciding factor of me leaving. Just because they offered me another position, that wasn't the deciding factor. There were other things involved in my mind that aren't important for other people to know about."
Forbes' successor, who will become the seventh manager in Curve history, isn't known yet, and Stark said minor league coaching assignments could be announced within two weeks. Altoona's 2012 pitching coach, Jeff Johnson, and hitting coach, Ryan Long, are expected to remain in the organization, Stark said, but their assignments for 2013 are unknown.
Forbes struggled through a very disappointing season on all accounts his first year with the Curve in 2011, finishing 64-77, third-worst in franchise history. He returned in 2012, and the team hovered a few games below .500 for most of the season before catching fire late, winning 13 of 16 and the final six to finish 72-70.
He said on the final day of the season that he had hoped to be back in Altoona next year, but the Pirates offered something else.
"I will say that P.J.'s a talented baseball guy that has some career aspirations, and I think ultimately he felt like the opportunity we were presenting wasn't going to match up perfect for him," Stark said by phone. "He had nothing but good things to say about the organization, and I've got nothing but good things to say about P.J."
Forbes did indeed go out on a positive note in his comments about the Pirates after working in their system since 2009. He pointed to the high number of young players he has helped develop the past few years who have gone on to play in the major leagues (nine so far from his two years with the Curve).
"It says a lot about where the organization is going, and they're going to continue to get better," Forbes said of the Pirates. "There's very exciting times ahead in Pittsburgh, no question about it.
"I look back and see the number of guys that are in the big leagues and Triple-A, very pleased," Forbes added. "Couldn't be more pleased, as a matter of fact, how things went there [in Altoona]. Two great staffs two years."
Stark had nothing critical to say about Forbes' performance with the Curve.
"I think P.J. is a good baseball guy and did a solid job there," he said. "Certainly a guy that represents the organization and what we're about extremely well, and I wish him the best of luck as he segues into the next career challenge."
Forbes said he has been interviewing for other jobs and seeing what opportunities come up. He managed at Reading from 2006-08, so he has five years' experience at the Double-A level.
He turned down the Pirates' offer for a job below Double-A, and he's not certain he'll get an offer at that high of a level from another team.
"No, not necessarily," he said. "I'm realistic. I've been with the Pirates and went backwards. I understand the things they did. I've got no problem with that. But I want to go where I feel like I best fit and where my talents have been utilized."
* P.J. Forbes went 136-147 in two seasons with the Curve, making him the only manager in franchise history to finish with a losing record (Marty Brown was 141-141 from 1999-00).
* All six managers in Curve history have had at least one season above .500, and the six-game winning streak to close the 2012 season assured Forbes of that.
* Forbes joins Brown as the only two managers in franchise history who did not lead the team to the playoffs.
* Forbes departs after two seasons in Altoona. The only Curve managers who have lasted three years were Dale Sveum (2001-03) and Tim Leiper (2006-08).