The Pirates weren’t able to make a deal at the deadline today, but it’s time to get over it. It was clear from the beginning that it was going to be a very thin market with little to no impact hitters available. Instead of overpaying for marginally better talent, Huntington stood pat with the roster that has obtained the best record in baseball. Not a bad move in my mind. I know others felt that the Pirates’ offense needed a boost, specifically coming out of RF but there just wasn’t a right choice out there. Marlins were not willing to deal Stanton and the Giants wanted way too much for Pence. Those two players would have been only one’s I would have dealt for. The rest were only going to be a slight upgrade or a strain on the clubhouse chemistry. It’s also important to note that St. Louis and Cincinnati made no moves either. Therefore, the NL Central virtually went unchanged; I’ll take our group of guys.
The quietest trade deadline in recent history shows that teams need to be built earlier in the year and through the farm system. The Pirates are doing just that. In 2012, Huntington was able to get AJ Burnett and gave up nothing. This offseason he outdid himself and brought in Fransisco Liriano and Russel Martin via free agency. Those two players have arguably been the best two acquisitions in all of baseball. Liriano is a legitimate Cy Young candidate and Russell Martin has been one of the best catchers in the league. Martin is currently 8th in batting average, 7th in OPS, has the 4th highest WAR, is 2nd in dWAR, 1st in CS and CS%, and 1st in CERA.
Huntington also currently has 5 of the Pirates’ first round picks on the 25 man roster. In fact, 11 out of the 25 are homegrown talent and many others were traded for very early in their career. The Pirates also have some help waiting in the wings. Gregory Polanco and Jameson Taillon are likely a year away but Andrew Lambo is still tearing up the minor leagues. I recently wrote about Lambo and attempted to start the #FreeLambo train. After hitting his 28th homerun of the season, it now appears as though everyone is jumping on board. Lambo now has his average up to .282 with 14 homers and 41 RBIs in AAA. I’ve seen him play in person now and honestly think he’s ready for the majors. I think we’ll see him added to the 40-man roster any day now.
Don’t hate on Huntington for not overpaying. The talent and value just wasn’t there this season. That’s easily seen by the lack of trades across the board. These Pirates are 22 games over .500, first in the NL Central, have the best record in baseball, and have the best playoff percentage chances. Don’t give up yet. Have faith in NH, it’s pretty clear he knows what he is doing.