Is Neal Huntington Bluffing
By Tom Smith
Pittsburgh Pirates GM reminds me of a good poker player that wants to be successful long term. A man that, like those good poker players, must continually work to stay ahead of the curve. It is quite evident that Huntington knew a day like today would come and he is wearing his best poker face as his squad gets on the field at Bradenton today.
In speaking with the Bucs boss over the years, he reminds me of a guarded poker player. Always looking ahead for the next move. In this MLB.com article, Huntington did his best to get his boss of the hot seat. http://mlb.mlb.com/news/article/pit/mike-bauman-pirates-continue-to-move-in-the-right-direction?ymd=20140216&content_id=67838498&vkey=news_pit&fs=true
"“Bob Nutting takes a lot of abuse for a lack of resources at the Major League level, but he’s done everything we could have asked for to build us to this point.The behind-the-scenes investment that he’s made is significant. It doesn’t show up in a Major League payroll. But in our minds it shows up by allowing us to be competitive, despite being one of the bottom 10 in payroll. Without that support, without those resources, without that commitment, this becomes either much harder or not even possible."
Sounds like somebody in the marketing department needs to make an infographic. Huntington immediately covered for Nutting’s tight grip on the checkbook after the Pirates first winning season in forever. If the Bucs GM makes no more moves this offseason, the talent is going to have to produce. The moves Huntington and his team made are going to be counted on to produce and don’t think all of the eyes in Pittsburgh won’t be firmly on the success or failure of the ball club.
In the new MLB, there are hundreds of men staring at computer screens, projection systems while hundreds more spend the day evaluating talent. Huntington has blended both as he has created the Pittsburgh Pirates roster. He’s not a man that seemed comfortable as Bob Nutting wrote check after check for players last year during the stretch run.
We remember him saying after Marlon Byrd and Justin Morneau were added to the roster that it was not his ideal way to construct a team. The Bucs GM is always looking ahead and it seemed like he knew that Byrd and Morneau were strictly short term rental players that required the team to surrender assets.
This winter it seemed to us that with such a small nest egg allocated by Nutting, Huntington wasn’t able to land the off season targets he and his team had their sights sent on. Now Opening Day is right around the corner and, from the outside at least, Huntington is saying he feels comfortable with the current roster on his smart phone.
We just can’t tell if he is bluffing or has a few more tricks up his sleeve before the Cubs roll into town on March 31.