After generating a buzz at the 2010 trade deadline, Garrett Jones had a forgettable second half.

Were The Pittsburgh Pirates Pigs Or Was It The Jose Bautista Effect?

Often times we start to feel good about the Pittsburgh Pirates and then we hear an interview or read a story from a far away blog that pops our bubble. 

We try to envision players having a bounce back year for the Bucs.  Just when we think it could happen, we run some numbers, it seems possible…but all too soon reality comes crashing back.  

It made us think back on seasons past when players like Matt Capps, Andy LaRoche, Zach Duke, Lastings Milledge and others were having success.   These Pirates players had enough success on the diamond to build value, especially Capps and Duke.  None of the players that built value were flipped for some talent that could help the mainly talentless ballclub.  Neal Huntington held onto these players like John Cougar sang about holding onto 16. 

Most fans had good feelings about these players at various times.  Early in 2010, we did. 

In 2010, although Lasting Milledge had some rather mundane numbers a closer look revealed 27 hits, five doubles and two triples, in 81 at-bats with runners in scoring position.

The Pirates organization apparently believed that the majority of fans didn’t want much roster change in 2010.  Hell, maybe they believed it too.  The team went out of their way to present a new message during PirateFest.  The 2010 deadline would not be the same as seasons past.   It was time to develop talent, not acquire new talent, or something to that effect.

Do you think it was smart to declare such a message before the season even started?  Think about it before you answer.  Ticket sales were up when the season ended.  So were the ticks in the loss column. 

So is there an argument that Neal Huntington has changed his mental approach, or has someone like Frank Coonelly changed it for him?  It’s one of those questions that is impossible to answer, at least until the tell-all book is released.

But maybe it’s more simple than that.  We just want the guy that sold high.  Most everyone that dabbles in the stock market knows the saying, pigs get slaughtered.  In essence, if you hold on to something for too long, eventually it will suck.  If you can’t follow me, think of a boyfriend or a girlfriend you left at the peak of your relationship.  Could it have been more?  Maybe.  Would it have eventually sucked?  Definently.  You made the right move.  

Sure it’s cruel.  But relationships, like  baseball are  a cruel game.  Especially for Pirates fans.   We think of it this way, the hardest part of growing in the music business for Bruce Springsteen was putting down the guitar, not learning it.  That was the easy part. 

So are the Pirates setting up fans with false hope by riding out talented players?  Signing marginal free agents?

So, what happened to the guy that flipped Nate McLouth at the height of his popularity?   The height of his value.  The guy that could have cared less what the fans thought, he knew it was the right thing to do.  And in every case Huntington has made the right moves.  We can argue about the returns all day long, but he pulled the trigger.

Was it some of the misses in those trades that held Huntington back?  We think it was.  If you have read RumBunter for a while, you probably remember what Huntington said to Rocco last year.  We can’t let it escape our mind when we think about what might have been in 2010 for the Pirates…..if it wasn’t for Jose Bautista.

But was it Bautista or was it Huntington just feeling like shit at the graduation party for the losing streak?


It was a glimpse, albeit a quick glimpse, inside the mind of Neal Huntington.  Rocco got to where nobody else had with Huntington. 
Perhaps the idea of patience and sitting around being a pig  is why the rotation looked like shit last season.  Maybe Neal being patient is why Zach Duke and Paul Maholm weren’t moved at the deadline?   But more importantly, will Huntington second guess his talent evaluation?   Ultimately, the big picture shows, the system is improving.  
The only thing that hasn’t been consistent is the fact that some of the high risk, high reward moves Huntingon made didn’t work.  
Jeff Clement, Lastings Milledge, and Ronny Cedeno haven’t cut it, but remember the Bucs  gave up nothing in those deals except cash and old players.  Zip.   No Clement and Cedeno need to make the deal look like another steal.  

We can’t help but think this offseason could have been different.  But why did Huntington hold back?  He is a very strong willed man.  Talks a lot.  Sometimes he says too much, maybe he thinks too much.   But what held him back last season from pulling the trigger on some deals like say trading….Garrett Jones?    We all heard the rumors.

What could have the Pirates received if Jones was flipped?  What could the Bucs have received if Huntington set a realistic value on Jones?  Or Hanrahan?   Critics will say what really could the Pirates have pulled for GFJ?  

To that we point to Octavio Dotel.  Even if James McDonald’s arm falls off this year, which we think could be possible, that deal was a freaking heist. 

We need more of them.

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