Notes from Pittsburgh Pirates GM Neal Huntington Show

The Neal Huntington Show notes from Sunday July 3, 2011. Once again, this is recapped as quickly and briefly as possible. If you have questions send them to us on Twitter and we will give our take on the show.

The twitter question of the week was from @EFCidade:

Greg Brown: Do you think an agreement can be made with Gerrit Cole? 

Neal Huntington:  We do.  We appreciate the twitter question.  We maintain optimistic about Bell too.

(Discussed the August 15 deadline) Most believe they hold out and will get more money.  They lose out.  It’s not helped our game despite the intent.  The pitchers especially lose out.  It’s been counterproductive.

Greg Brown: Alex Dickerson how important was it to sign him?

If Alex hadn’t signed we have about 15 other options, I don’t mean to sound callous.  We were excited to get him.  We give ourselves plenty of options.  We wanted to get Dickerson and Brewer out and get them going.  They will have a huge advantage over players who wait until August 15.


GB:  Do you think players are aware…specifically Pedro Alvarez?

Pedro…you hate to play the what if game, a lot of things would have come out differently.  Tony Sanchez benefited from signing early.  Matt Hague, Jeremy Farrell…  Does it offset the dollars, but …..we want to get there.  If the player doesn’t want it (our offer,) we move on.

The players probably don’t recognize it enough.  Despite waiting until deadline….Pedro made it in two calendar years.  The system is what it is.

GB:  Chase d’Arnaud got into the system quickly  (no idea why GB said this, he never asked question)

[Neal started into Steve Pearce and why he played SS yesterday--Mercer got dinged.  No other option]

We are going to get Steve Pearce back.  Peare played SS. They didn’t have a shortstop.  He started a 6-4-3 double play.   Looked like an All-Star…(laughed)  Steve is on his way back to come up and help in utility role or at third base.

Pedro is making progress.  Still shows tremendous power.  The timing is getting better.  The rust is coming off Pedro..

GB:  Tabata setback?

He doesn’t feel pain running.  As he made a turn he felt pain in quad.  He decided….we decided…. to give him a couple days rest.  We wanted to be conservative.   Again, no pain, he felt tightness.

GB: Cedeno will play at Indianapolis today….Hurdle said Cedeno may come back Friday…the concussion thing is always up in the air Neal?  Each one is different, some…(he just rambles)

He has felt good.  No setbacks whatsoever.  But as we get crowd noise and music…fingers crossed we are looking to get him back in ML to help us as quicikly as possible.

GB:  Where does Ryan Doumit stand?

Trying to get his legs under him.  We got to get his legs reconditioned.  Three of five games…timing…from physical standpoint he’s back.  Not back, but nearing coming back to help us.  Again, hopefully like other guys, sooner rather than later.

GB: Ohlendorf?

Ross had decent outing.  Velocity was better as the game went on.  He got his trust.  His breaking stuff was inconsistent.  As expected.  He had an erractic change.  Ross showed good feel.  (He will make) another start there (Bradenton) and then we will evaluate.

GB:  Meek?

[Neal dropped the calll....more later  everyone when the show resumes..]

[We're back]

Evan hass just begun a throwing program.  He will have to go through fairly extensive program.  So far no problems.

GB: Trade speculation…is this fun for Neal Huntington (swear he said it in third person)

Oh yes.  We would much rather look forward to adding to the ball club then sending free agents away.  We are (insert all the cliches…right fit right return….no brainer to add….exploring…how much do we stretch…)

GB:  This is criticial is it not Neal?  Reds for three tomorrow and then Cardinals, the current leaders in the NL Central and then maybe top two teams in baseball…do you feel need before these big games?

We can always use schedule as strength or weakness.  It’s very very tough through the third week of August.  Sure we could use help (insert all cliches)   The next few weeks are crucial and then Milwaukee, St. Louis…the next six weeks will be an incredible challenge.  If we can add to it (the team,) we look forward to doing that.


GB: It’s fun for fans to dream and speculate, how much of a barrier when players have no trade clauses…for example Brewers got break with K-Rod, because his former agent failed to submit the no trade list, for you as GM how much of a barrier is that?

It can be if a player flat doesn’t want to come to Pittsburgh.  We think that is rare.  The park, players, fans…  Word is getting out and more players are open to coming to Pittsburgh.

GB:  Would you be willing to take more salary than prospects…talked about Mets and Beltran, article by Joel Sherman had two names came up consistently Giants and Tigers…the Pirates were brought up as payroll strapped….

(This was a circle answer because it is a wide open question–Neal did not specifically answer toward Beltran)  What are the prospects the other clubs are looking for…its a tough answer.  Its a tough answer.  In theory sure, give up money over prospects.

The old adage, ‘You can’t play money’ comes into effect.  We have to know our own players.  We arent always perfect.  How is he going to get better?  Why is he going to succeed?  What are the barriers?

We have flexibility.  It’s a great spot to be in.

GB:  UZR Neal…whats that mean

Upgrade on fielding percentage.  Attempt to say average SS gets to X number of balls, does the average SS get to that ball?  If he doesn’t its a negative.  If he does its a positive.  The one limitation is sample size.  Need about three seasons to get a read.  And then its a rough average.

GB:  Not fair to ask about Neil Walker then?

It doesnt take into consideration positioning.  If we move Walker he will get credit for a play he only made because of where we put him.

GB:  His fielding percentage is only behind Phillips

Walker has been tremendously reliable.  Neal has done a heckuva job.  But still has some work to do.


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