Neal Huntington is on the hunt for some starting pitching to improve the Pittsburgh Pirates organization. With the Buccos, there are numerous realities that you are obviously familiar with by now which always impact the team. Losses, finances, finances, and finances. This offseason, we anticipate the Pirates will inject the most cash into the major league team we have seen in years. This week, Huntington said this important quote to Rob Biertempfel :
"“Whether it’s $2 million, $10 million or something higher than that, we’ve got to make sure we feel comfortable that this guy is, ideally, a multiple-year fit or, if it’s a shorter-term fit, he fills a hole that we can’t fill internally.” Neal Huntington"
Could the pitchers below be targets that Huntington has in his sights? The names sparked our interest. But remember this, we have a real hard time believing Huntington will be comfortable with any of the players he attempts to sign to a deal. He is a lame duck GM looking to prove his worth in the final year of his contract.
Huntington is in the most difficult position a GM can be in right now. He must improve the big league product immediately with limited resources both in talent and dollars. But most importantly, is this one–time. Huntington doesn’t have time on his side.
Any pitcher Huntington signs to a deal is going to cause him many restless nights. It’s just the nature of the beast. Millions of Dollars + Immediate Impact needed to improve Major League Victories + COMFORTABLE are difficult to be put together.
If Neal Huntington said this we could buy it: We are going to sign some pitchers for millions of dollars and then I am going to sweat my ass off until we see how they do. The pressure is on. The checkbook is loosening up to probably around $60 million dollars. We hope Neal never lets them see him sweat. Especially when his back is to the wall and the Pirates organization and its’ fans have stared at hundreds of losses in a rebuild of epic proportions.
Brandon Webb. Comfortable? Hell No.
Upside? Absolutely. And Huntington has been known to gamble. Webb, the former Cy Young winner, has pitched four innings in the past two years, all of them in 2009. The Diamondbacks will not pursue signing him. An incentive rich one-year deal with an option could be an outside possibility for the Bucs if Huntington wants to roll the dice and bet big. However, the ground baller needs some defense behind him and looking at the Pirates cheese cloth leather defense, Webb might pass on coming to the Black and Gold.
Could his old catcher, Chris Snyder, be enough to lure him (and his reportedly 83mph fastball) to the Buccos? Snyder has a cameo in this picture vid.
Vicente Padilla. Comfortable? Hell Yes.
And how cool would it be to see soap bubbles at PNC? Padilla had 8+K per nine innings and walked 2.4 per nine. He should come relatively inexpensively as well. That should always help the comfortability factor especially when combined with the fact he only threw 95 innings this year.
MLBTR reported he was on a one-year, $5.025MM deal last season with the ability to make another $1million in incentives.
Wait…he had swine flu? Is that contagious?
Jake Westbrook. Comfortable? Yeh, we wish. He would be the poster boy.
The hurlers strikeout rate was near league average. He showed solid control. He should earn some nice coin this offseason.
But how about this for some rampant speculation….Westbrook is also a sinkerball pitcher, and a steadfast saint. Westbrook would fit in well with a ‘God’s Team’ type organization. Is that a plus for the Pirates?
"“I do know that I want to glorify Him whenever I pitch and in my daily walk.”–Jake Westbrook in the Christian Index"
Hiroki Kuroda. Comfortable? If his age doesn’t scare the Pirates away, he is the safest buy and could be one of the best pick ups for the Pirates. He had a career year throwing 196 innings with 7.2K/9 and 2.2BB/9. One of the best parts? The Pirates won’t need to give up a compensatory pick.
He also would fit into the Pirates Pitchers Hit By Line Drives Club too after suffering a concussion in 2009 on a line drive to the brain. He is fearless, which we like, the Bucs might not. He showed his guts when he answered the call on one of the biggest stages in baseball when he buzzed Victorino.
Hisanori Takahashi. Comfortable? eh… he is another in the thirty-five something age category, but the NY Mets paid the lefty a cool million for a 2.7 WARP.
Takahashi struck out 114 batters in his 122 innings pitched to go with his 2.8BB/9. He played in Japan and consistently put up innings, but it should not enough to scare the Pirates away. Check it out: 186 in 2007, 122 in 2008, and 144 in 2009.
Hardball Talk posted about Takahashi today saying that Takahashi is asking for a three-year deal worth around $5 million per season and the Mets have offered a one-year deal. They have until midnight tonight, Nov 5, to get a deal done.
Perhaps the most comfortable route for Huntington would be to make a deal? More on those later. Enjoy the weekend.