Pirates GM Neal Huntington Show Recap


Jun 12, 2014; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates shortstop Cole Tucker (left) the Pirates first round selection in the 2014 supplemental draft speaks with Pirates general manager Neal Huntington (right) after signing his contract before the Pirates host the Chicago Cubs at PNC Park. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports


The Pittsburgh Pirates GM Neal Huntington held his weekly show Sunday afternoon and it was hosted by Greg Brown again this week.   Huntington joined Brown who was in Chicago, on the telephone.

Huntington answered Brown’s question about if anything has surprised him regarding Gregory Polanco.

"It’s nice the offense is swinging the bats and scoring runs so he wasn’t needed to be deemed a savior as he might have been earlier in the year.   To have Polanco, Marte and McCutchen rolling at the top, it’s going to be fun."

Regarding Marte…its personal matter it’s not something for the club to expose.  He obviously has had a challenging situation.  We supported it.  To work through it and hopefully to get back playing on Monday.

Regarding Jason Grilli..

If you look at the industry, it’s an easy decision.  Very few teams have same closer from two…three some clubs even last year.  When you remove human element it’s easy.  When you keep human element in and see what Grilli has done, not just as a closer, but as a set up man.  Having Melancon, Watson and Wilson showing signs of getting back on track.

Jason didn’t want to be removed.  But he understands.  he is going to pitch meaningful innings for us again and hopefully soon.

We still see 92. 94.  The challenge is consistency…repeatabilty…too many pitches in middle of plate or throwing fastballs in the middle of the plate because you are behind in the count…it’s awfully hard to be succesful.

Regarding Pedro Alvarez…throwing issues

If Pedro continues to mature, he is going to have some challenges.  He is showing more discipline at the plate.  We still have challenges with his approach and consistency.  He has made some fantastic defensive plays….it’s remarkable to hear about the guys that have had throwing inaccuracies…I know our staff is working hard to work through this.  We are a better club when he is playing good defense and hitting well.

The discussion of the starting pitching staff was lengthy.   Basically, Huntington said what everyone knows….the pitchers having success are not getting behind in the count, keeping the ball out of the middle of the plate and changing speeds effectively.

Regarding BAMF Gerrit Cole:  “So far, so good with Gerrit Cole.  He is on the right track.”

We are fortunate to have Neil Walker coming back, Jordy has hit well, and Clint Barmes has stepped up.

We are looking forward to clicking on all cylinders and hopefully soon.

Brown asked if he was thinking Pedro was sacrificing power to just hit a ball in play.

No.  He has opportunity to improve rather than be an all or nothing guy.

Regarding the move that it will take to get Walker back on the roster…Huntington said the club is working through a multitude of options that will give Clint Hurdle the best options.

Brown asked about roster challenges with Gerrit Cole coming back….the players with options can be sent down without losing the player.

Earlier this year, we kept Jared Hughes who had options and risked Vin Mazzaro.   We want to put Clint in a position to win games and put our players in position to win.  We plan for tomorrow, three days from now, seven days, fourteen days.  We have to be aware of looking ahead, but sometimes the script changes.

Brown spoke about Hurdle mentioning all of the challenges last week, and Brown asked NH

We haven’t played very well.  Huntington said one measure had the Bucs with the toughest schedule in NL.   The Bucs GM spoke about playing better, doing what the team is capable of….

I need to do a bettter job of providing the players….ultimately get our jobs done…  When you have inconsistent starting pitching its tough to get on a 10-2 roll.  We see great starts and then go out and have a challenge.  The bullpen….we got some challenges…absolutely we see the flashes.  The talent is there.  We will continue to look and see how we can add to it.

Huntington glowed when he spoke about Vance Worley.

Brown spoke about the Triple A starting rotation and Huntington seemed to enjoy the conversation as he rattled off what the pitchers are doing for Indianapolis.

They have just gone and do what they do.  We are trying to get Casey Sadler streched back out.  Jay Jackson overall hasn’t looked good when looking at numbers, but he has done everything…ate innings.  Adam Wilk continues to pitch well.  We still have some solid options down there.  Vin has thrown the ball well.  Andy Oliver had one rough outing recently but prior to that, he has thrown very well, two quality pitches…

Brown talked about catcher Tony Sanchez in AAA Indianapolis:

Tony Sanchez is still walking, still driving the baseball and playing fairly well overall.

Regarding Stetson Allie being placed on the DL when Altoona brawled with the Fisher Cats.

They hit us.  We hit them.  They threw back.  A fight broke out.  They do happen in the game.  Allie has been injured, he is on the seven day concussion DL.  We look forward to having him back out there.

We are.  The next phase is solifdy the pool spending.  What penalty would be.  Then go through the options that would fit that bill.  We have some guys we really like, we may give it to one guy or divide between two or three players…so just the over slot guy…or guys.