In Jon Heyman’s latest article at SI.com, he mentions that the Pittsburgh Pirates intend to extend Neal Huntington after the season. Heyman mentions that the only reason it hasn’t happened yet is that the team wanted to wait until after the trade deadline and the amateur signing period to pass.
The Pirates are five losses away from another losing season, but this year has been a move in the right direction. The current record of 65-77 is already an eight game improvement on the horrible 2010 season, and is a pace for 74 wins. They made a huge splash in the draft with Josh Bell, signing him for a record shattering $5 M as a second round pick, despite everyone saying there was no chance he would sign. They added Derrek Lee and Ryan Ludwick at the trade deadline for very little in return. The team has struggled since then, and Lee was injured, although both players have performed up to expectations when healthy, and Lee has put up some monster numbers in his limited playing time.
Coming in to the season if we would have said the Pirates would improve from 57 wins to 74 wins, would spend $17 M in the draft, and in the process would land three players in the top 50, plus two in the top 15, I don’t think an extension would have been a surprise. For that reason, it’s not a surprise that Huntington is in line for an extension now.