Pittsburgh Pirates GM Neal Huntington Show: “We’re Not An Organization That Believes In The Window”


April 1, 2013; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates center fielder Andrew McCutchen (center) receives his 2012 silver slugger award from Pittsburgh Pirates general manager Neil Huntington (left) and his 2012 Rawlings gold glove from Jerry Williams (right) before the game against the Chicago Cubs at PNC Park. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

The Pittsburgh Pirates GM Neal Huntington held his weekly show before the Bucs took on the National League’s worst ball club, the Colorado Rockies.   Huntington joined the show via the telephone as Brown was in Colorado.  In all, I wouldn’t want to play cards against Huntington.  After listening to the show, it sounded like the Bucs won’t have a prayer in landing a player or players at the trade deadline or in August after the deadline.  Doom.  Gloom.  Things are going to be different this August, the Bucs GM mentioned.   But like most of the words that come out of Huntington’s mouth ….well, let’s just say it’s amazing, trade deadline time…just amazing.

So we can assume the Bucs are going to make some serious moves at the trade deadline….just because it sounded so bad that NH has to be bluffing–someone.

Show notes:

Brown asked about the trouble the Bucs have had against left-handers.  The Bucs GM said Starling Marte being out of the lineup has hurt us.  We are in a tough stretch offensively.  Getting Marte is the biggest thing we can do to help the club.

Brown asked about Marte’s health.  This is the definition of day-to-day.  He stayed in the game the night it happened.  He has had very good stretches and then stretches he hasn’t felt just right.  The longer the time the more likely we would want him to go get some at-bats on a rehab assignment.

Huntington spoke about the various tests surrounding concussions.

The trade deadline subjecgt came up and Brown asked if anything has changed since last year.

Huntington said he wishes when the Bucs were selling the market was like it is now.  More buyers…such a premium is being asked, and paid by the buyers.  We have had our best prospects be asked about for situational relievers to two months rentals.

Huntington said that anything done to help the current team will cause future teams to lose more.

"We are not an organization that believes in the window or the cycle."

That was the first I have heard Huntington say anything like that and I found it a little bit surprising.  But perhaps it’s simply just playing to the current market.  But the more you think about Huntington, it makes sense from his philosphy.  It’s all about the farm system for NH.  He has said the quickest way to deplete the system is by chasing the final piece of the puzzle.  It makes perfect sense, but it also makes me wonder if the team is going to wait on every prospect–especially since giving up two nice pieces in Black and Herrera last season for rentals.

Some other random Pirates trade rumor discussion:

"Very few clubs are looking at A ball prospects.  They want immediate……it’s a difficult part of the equation right now.We are always open to good baseball trades.  we have explored the move that is beyond typical move…. we have teams deal from strength…teams that feel a need to match another team that fills a need.We are not nearly as optimistic as we were last August.   We think ….the impact that Marlon Byrd…Byrd probably exceeded expectations.  It will make it that much harder…the waiver trade deadline may be problematic…and the pre-waiver deadline is also problematic at this point.In Morneau’s case…a lot of money attached.  They put him through earlier. I think industry will be extremely aggressive this year…unbelievably aggressive in blocking players from going to their competition."

Regarding the communication with Chairman of the Board Bob Nutting and President Frank Coonelly during this time of the year.

"We keep Bob in the loop.  The thoughts we need to gather are gathered so we can move.  You feel a lot of pressure to hit on these moves.  Our margin for error in the smaller markets is limited.  You feel a lot of pressure to make the right decision."

Some general trade deadline talk bulletin points from Huntington.

"Last year we were very targeted.  (talking about getting a right fielder and a first baseman)  This year we can be more opportunistic in the types of moves we can make.Some of the asks are aggressive from other clubs.  We were on that side of the fence once.  Sometimes it feels like you are chasing your tail.  It’s challenging and very frustrating, at times.To truly have an impact on competitive balance, the picks have to be differently constructed.  It doesn’t have the huge advantage to get those picks in the first place.As much as I just complained about competitive balance picks not having an impact, Selig has done remarkable work during his tenure.  His successor will have huge shoes to fill.  There will be challenges going forward to remain competive.  Looking at draft….to give us a fair chance."

Brown asked his usual question…if you were a betting man Neal, would you bet that you will get a deal done by the deadline?

"We are working on it.  At times I think we have no chance that we make a deal that makes sense…..now we could just make a deal…a deadl to make people feel better.  We have a challenge.  We don’t take lightly that we have a chance to win division….get to WS, win World Series…..but we also know that the quickest way to ensure we don’t get chance next year to win division, etc…  is just to give players away."