MILWAUKEE - The Pirates this morning extended the contract of general manager Dave Littlefield by one year, through the 2008 season.
As of a week ago, there had been no talks between the team and Littlefield.
Littlefield, 45, was hired July 13, 2001, and is the 12th-most tenured general manager in Major League Baseball. Under his watch, the Pirates are 314-407 for a .436 winning percentage and have not had a winning season.
Of the 11 general managers with more tenure, all but three -- Kansas City's Allard Baird, San Diego's Kevin Towers and Colorado's Dan O'Dowd -- have winning records. All of them have had at least one winning season. That includes Baird, the only one with a lower winning percentage -- .408 -- than Littlefield. The Royals are 368-539 under Baird but finished two games above .500 in 2003.
McClatchy credited Littlefield for what he described as improvement throughout the Pirates' system.
"Dave has done a good job for the Pirates organization, and he and his staff continue to improve our team," McClatchy said. "In addition, he understands that our scouting and player development system is the lifeblood of this ballclub and the key to our sustained success. ... We are beginning to see the results of those efforts, as we see more homegrown talent at the major-league level."
The Pirates open the season in Milwaukee this afternoon.
More details in tomorrow's Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.