The Neal Huntington Show Recap
By Tom Smith
The Pittsburgh Pirates Senior Vice President and General Manager held his Sunday show today on 93.7 The Fan. Some interesting quotes came out of it, which is normally the case.
Today we learned that Jordy Mercer did enough to make the team out of Spring Training, but thanks to the injury to Chase d’Arnaud, the Pirates wanted three “capable” shortstops. Hence the acquisition of John McDonald , which led to Mercer being sent to Triple-A rather than join the big club. Oh, by the way – Mercer is hitting .323 for the Indianapolis Indians with an .846 OPS. We can only guess those ten strikeouts against two walks are the reason Mercer is being held back.
Huntington spoke about Brandon Inge , who is hitting .158 with a .622 OPS. It certainly sounded like Inge was coming to the big leagues, if you listened to Greg Brown. We still aren’t convinced, because Huntington didn’t give many hints other than Inge gives Clint veteran presence and leadership. It’s almost as if Huntington says that because he’s not sold on Inge either–who knows, but lauding a player’s defense is usually the first thing spoken about a player who is struggling at the plate, and there were Huntington references to all the various positions Inge has been playing.
The topic of A.J. Burnett being extended another year was brought up. Huntington stayed away from it, except to say the team won’t negotiate publicly. The Bucs GM did appreciate the positive comments Burnett has made to the media.
Charlie Morton and Francisco Liriano will both make rehab starts this week. Huntington spoke highly of Morton’s work ethic.
Huntington made one comment when asked about what the role for Jose Contreras would be. It was a profound statement:
"We are carrying Vin Mazzaro and Jeanmar Gomez because of the starters’ instability."
Huntington made it clear that Contreras won’t have a specific role, and rattled off several ways the veteran could help the Pirates bullpen. There was also a discussion about using Russell Martin at third base. The GM said it was a bit “unsettling” when Michael McKenry came out of the game on Saturday night, but that John McDonald could put on the tools of ignorance if needed.
And then the bombshell: “Inge could do it, too.”
So it does seem like Inge will be on this club sooner rather than later, if you read into the comment.
Another ground breaking comment on where the shortstop of the future is for the Bucs: Huntington mentioned that Clint Barmes can be a free agent after the 2013 season and he doesn’t want to close any doors on those discussions.
"The (shortstop of the future) could come internally or externally. Neal Huntington"
The quote got a hilarious response.
Huntington also talked about his happiness with Travis Snider. The topic of power came up and the GM said he doesn’t want Snider to get caught up in chasing homers. A Joe Tabata reference was made by Huntington. I guess it meant that Tabata was ridiculed for not having home run power and playing right field. Snider’s swing was discussed and around that time is when Huntington said home runs are mistakes, the swing is off a bit and instead of a line drive the ball gets some lift (or something, we sort of lost track by this point)
In Sunday’s game Justin Wilson became Huntington’s first drafted pitcher to get a big league win for the Pirates. Of course Tanner Scheppers has a W, but he failed to sign with the Pirates after being drafted by Huntington. (H/T JoeRozsa on Twitter)