Chuck Finder had a quote from Perry Hill today in the PBC Blog on Hill’s future plans. Hill responded to Pittsburgh Pirates General Manager Neal Huntington’s comments about Hill not wanting to coach. Hill’s response:
“I never said I didn’t want to coach,” Hill said this afternoon. “I just didn’t want to be with Pittsburgh. I definitely want to coach.”
This takes me back to the post on the PBC Blog back in early September
about Hill being disappointed over the trades. Here was the reason Hill was upset:
Plain and simple, it is that management had assured him upon signing up late in 2008 that there would be no massive rebuilding, that the infielders with whom he would work would be kept around. It was understood that there could be a trade here or there, but nothing as wholesale as what occurred.
First of all, I have a hard time believing that Hill would have thought there wouldn’t be a rebuild. Everyone knew they were shopping Jack Wilson that off-season. It was such common knowledge that Wilson showed up at the Winter Meetings expecting to be traded. Adam LaRoche was in his last year of arbitration, set to be a free agent. Freddy Sanchez was coming off of an injury plagued year and no one knew what his performance level would be, which makes it hard to believe that the Pirates were talking about him long term in November 2008.
All of this fails to mention the fact that the Pirates have constantly said that no one is untouchable when it comes to trades, and proved that this year with the Nate McLouth deal, amongst others.
Then there’s the fact that the idea of improving the defense of Sanchez, Wilson, and LaRoche makes no sense for the Pirates. The Pirates signed Hill to a one year deal with an option year. They had LaRoche under control for another season. They had Wilson and Sanchez under control for two years.
If you bring Hill in for two seasons, and he works on players who are going to be free agent eligible once Hill leaves, all you’re doing is building the value of pending free agents. Giving Wilson and Sanchez two years of work with Hill only adds to their free agent value. There’s the option of keeping the players, but that pretty much results in a trade off.
We could have kept Wilson, Sanchez, and LaRoche, and Hill probably would have stayed an extra year. However, we also wouldn’t have received the following players:
Of course we also have the option of re-signing these players this season, as it looks like all three could be free agents. That seems like a bigger impact than one year of Hill can make.
The biggest thing is the impact of Hill. There’s no questioning the value he brings. However, if Hill is the best defensive guru in the game, and he only wants to work with players who already have strong defensive skills like Wilson, Sanchez, and LaRoche, then what good are his skills to us? We need Hill improving the defense of guys like Pedro Alvarez, Jeff Clement, Delwyn Young, Andy LaRoche at second, and some of the younger guys like Brian Friday, Chase d’Arnaud, Shelby Ford, and Jordy Mercer. It’s kind of pointless having him work on guys who are already good defensively, and on the tail end of their careers.
It just seems like a total waste of talent. Hill bailing after all of the established players are gone is like the best mechanic in town only agreeing to fix headlights, and refusing to work on a broken transmission. What’s the point of having the best infield coach when he’s not helping your team in the long term?
The Pirates don’t have that situation with Joe Kerrigan. Kerrigan has improved Ross Ohlendorf, who is under team control through the 2014 season. He’s improved Zach Duke, who is under control through the 2011 season. He’s worked with Donald Veal, who has five more years of control, and could regain top prospect status because of Kerrigan’s work. The Pirates have only had him for a year, but he’s made a lasting effect, and he will continue that next year, likely by working with guys such as Brad Lincoln, Charlie Morton, and Kevin Hart.
Hill made great strides with Andy LaRoche, but that’s his only lasting effect. Going back, would you do it all over again? Would you retain Jack Wilson, Freddy Sanchez, and Adam LaRoche, and pass on all of the valuable prospects the Pirates received, just to get one more year of Hill working with Wilson, Sanchez, and LaRoche (who would likely be gone after Hill was gone)? Or do you feel that getting Tim Alderson, Jeff Clement, Ronny Cedeno, Brett Lorin, Aaron Pribanic, Nathan Adcock, Hunter Strickland, and Argenis Diaz is worth the cost of losing one year of Hill?
I’d love for Hill to return, but it appears he only wants to work with established defenders, and that doesn’t really help a rebuilding team like the Pirates. They need a coach who will mold a young player. Hill seems better suited for a big market team that can go out and buy established players, only for Hill to come in and put on the finishing touches. For a guy considered the best defensive guru in the game, it certainly seems like a waste of talent.