PIttsburgh Pirates GM Huntington ranked 5th best in MLB
Pittsburgh Pirates general manager Neal Huntington is getting some long-overdue national recognition.
Former Rum Bunter Radio guest Jesse Spector, national writer for The Sporting News, put out his comprehensive rankings of the best general managers in all of Major League Baseball. Neal Huntington came in ranking fifth. From Spector’s piece:
"So it turns out that Francisco Cervelli brings a lot of the same strengths to the table as Russell Martin, but is three years younger and millions of dollars cheaper. Who knew?"
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To me, that is the #1 crown jewel of Huntington’s off-season. In the face of one of the biggest potential backlashes in recent memory when Martin bolted for north of the border. Sure, Huntington made an outstanding offer to Martin by account of all involved, but for the fans, all that they saw was a face of the franchise, and in some regards the face of the turnaround, leave for more money. It was a tired song, one that fans are tired of hearing. Yet Huntington and his staff were able to block out the noise and do what they do best – deal from positions of strength. Justin Wilson, dealt to New York for Cervelli, seems like a long-forgotten friend that you sometimes wonder about, but nothing more.
Coincidentally, Wilson currently has a 4.58 ERA. Just saying.
Perhaps most importantly, Huntington has shown to be unflinching in making the tough calls necessary for working in a “small” market. and for that, he deserves the no. 5 ranking. He has taken the Pittsburgh Pirates to another level (obviously) and should be commended. Yes, another regime drafted Andrew McCutchen, Starling Marte, and Neil walker. That should not take anything away from the extensions Huntington has signed, or the excellent track record with “broken” pitchers.
We reached out to Spector to ask him what Neal Huntington can do this summer to back up his high spot in the GM rankings. His response:
"Huntington really doesn’t have a whole lot to do because he’s already put the Pirates in such a good position. I think an extra bat would help in the infield, and nobody ever has enough pitching, so whatever kind of arms might be out there, if they’re cheap to acquire, go for it. The August waiver trade period might be where it’s at for Huntington, not unlike two years ago. Don’t fret if Pittsburgh isn’t active in July."
An extra arm definitely wouldn’t hurt the current fifth-starter or bullpen situation. The Pirates have the prospects to get deals done come trade deadline time.
If he continues making shrewd, underrated moves, next year might see an even higher ranking.
Please take a moment to hop over to The Sporting News to read the full rankings. It’s a great read and well worth your time.