Huntington to Get Three Year Extension?

We’ve been hearing a lot of talk lately about a Neal Huntington extension that is in the works.  Jon Heyman reported the other day that the Pirates intended to extend their General Manager.  Today, Dejan Kovacevic reports that the extension, once signed, will be for three years.

The extension really isn’t a surprise.  The major league team has taken a step forward this year, currently on pace for 74-75 wins.  We’ve already seen an improvement of nine games over last year’s disastrous finish, with 19 games left to go.  A big reason for the improvement has been the rotation, led by a lot of guys that were acquired by Huntington in the last two years.

The Pirates also just finished spending a record number in the draft, adding Gerrit Cole and Josh Bell as part of a $17 M draft class.  The Pirates have spent the most in the draft out of any team over the last four years.

We’re seeing a lot of the young players start to arrive in the majors, and the two top prospects, Gerrit Cole and Jameson Taillon, could arrive as early as June 2013.  A three year extension puts Huntington under control through the 2014 season, although I’m guessing his future with the team will be determined earlier, based on the performance of the prospects that arrive in 2012 and 2013.

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Tim Williams

Tim is the owner and editor in chief of Pirates Prospects. He started the site in January 2009, and turned it into his full time job during the 2011 season. Prior to starting Pirates Prospects, Tim worked with, providing MLB, NHL, and NFL coverage to various national media outlets, including ESPN Insider, USA Today, Yahoo Sports, and the Wall Street Journal. He also writes the annual Prospect Guide, which is sold through the site. Tim lives in Bradenton, where he provides live coverage all year of Spring Training, mini camp, instructs, the Bradenton Marauders, and the GCL Pirates.

Heyman: Pirates Intend to Extend Huntington

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2011-12 Pirates Prospects Off-Season Calendar

  • Anonymous


    What is you opinion, assuming the 3-year extension goes through?  Would you have kept Huntington?

  • Anonymous

    I think NH has done a good job in the draft and is batting about .500 in the trade department. His FA signings have been poor but you have to consider that a lot of players don’t want to come to a team on an 18 year losing streak. I think the 2012-2013 seasons will show more about the job he has been doing then the previous 4 years have. The players he drafted will be arriving in those years with the exception of Alvarez and d’Arnaud, who are from the ’09 class, who are already with the major league club.

  • Anonymous

    Being someone who is not enamored with NH, this is not good news to me.

    A simple one-year extension would have been (or will be) more acceptable than a 3-year deal. Hits and misses are common for GMs and NH is certainly no exception. He deserves credit for an improvement in the minors. But, I fail to see the vast improvements so many rave about. Other orgs have promoted their signees to the bigs who were in the last 4 drafts. Maybe I’m overlooking someone, but isn’t d’Arnaud the only Huntington draftee  to rise above AAA and he has not set the league on fire by any means. The argument can be made for ‘dro but he has regressed and spent time this season at AAA and it should have been more.

    His FA signings of position players has been a disaster, plain and simple. Vasquez, Crosby, Overbay, Diaz (a signing I personally liked), Church, etc., etc. have all been busts. There is the argument that no one will come to the PBC. That has merit, but there is no way Lyle Overbay should have gotten a $5MM contract. Because you’re limited with who is available shouldn’t mean you throw the kitchen sink at a guy like Overbay to sign him. Somehow NH finds relief pitchers willing to come to the Pirates and at very affordble prices. Is the difference in evaluation? He (or most likely, his staff) can evaluate pithers but not hitters?

    The love for pitchers has limited the minors to being practically barren of any power. Pitching is the name of the game, but a better mix of hitting and pitching would be more practical.

    To me, I look at te PBC for results and they’re not there. Andrew McCutcheon and Walker are 2 players penciled into the lineup everyday. Coincidentally, neither is a Huntington signee, but were signed by the worst GM in history. If Cedeno wasn’t so mental he’d be a third. Tabata ( a guy I like btw) is limited in power and may be injury prone. Presley, to me, has shown he belongs. That’s five 5 starters, 2 obtained by NH in some fashion.

    Existing holes are at the infield corners and at catcher. McKenry is acceptable on a good hitting team but leaves a little to be desired with the feeble Buc attack. To his credit, and probably with input from Hurdle, McKenry is a NH pick-up. Third has been manned by Harrison, a utility guy most anywhere else, by Wood, a prior #1 pick who is a flop and by ‘dro, whose history is well documented. Only ‘dro offers hope for the future and that is very muddled and complicated by the fact he’s lousy at the position. Who knows who will man first in the future but unless the sun rises in the west, the Pirates won’t be signing Pujois or Fielder or another adequate FA in the offseason.

    The smoke and mirrors that were the first half pitching staff have come back to reality. I will say Lincoln has been a nice surprise as a starter. Another DL signee too.

    Perhaps I ‘m jaded or just impatient. At any rate, I’m not euphoric with NH.

    • Tim Williams

      I just want to point out something that I notice a lot.  People often talk about Walker and McCutchen being key players in the majors, then throw in the “they were drafted by DL”.  Those guys were drafted in 2004/2005, and didn’t arrive until 2009/2010.  McCutchen arrived after 4 years, and Walker arrived after six years in the minors.  Yet a lot of people are upset that we haven’t seen a huge amount of players arrive from Huntington’s drafts, which have had, at most, three years in the minors.

      More examples: Presley was drafted in 2006, and is just arriving.  Lincoln was drafted in 2006, and looks like he is finally turning in to a major league pitcher.  So why are we upset that players drafted in 2008-2010 haven’t arrived in the majors yet?  It almost seems like a double standard.

      • Anonymous

        Thanks for pointing that out. Both were HS players and #1 picks. However, Walker was almost an afterthought. If Aki had been worth his weight Walker probably wouldn’t be a starter today. Lincoln had injury setbacks as we all know, but is still “iffy” for a rotation spot next year.

        As for the NH drafts, yes it is still a little early to judge them, but I’d expect some type of talent to be at AAA with ML implications ahead. IMO Marte is the likeliest near term future ML starter among AA/AAA starters but even he is panned by many (not by me tho). Pitching looks to be far away.

        NH has been beset by bad luck, especially injuries this year, but that is the Pirateway (bad luck naturally comes their way). Development is below average, if not poor, an the PBC hitting coach is an absolute disaster. There need to be lots of better coaching in the system, whether that falls at NH’s feet or Hurdle’s.  

  • Anonymous

    If I were the Pirates I would create another management position, I would make Huntington the head of all minor league operations including the draft and bring in a GM for the major league team, I think the  draft is a premier way to get top talent, but development takes time, trades are the way to go and this team needs a guy that is not afraid to let a good player or players go to get what this team  needs most. They have several solid outfielders and can easily part with one or two of them, they have a lot of talented pitchers that they can include in trades, Huntington will not trade his talent unless it is a contract issue, then the other GM’s have him by the throat.
    He will not bring up any of his AA talent, all players have to come from the AAA team including the filler players he uses down at AAA.
    The minor league coaches had to beg Huntington to include Hughes in the call ups, he is probably one of the better relief pitchers in the system.
    Moskos got sent down pitching better than Beimel.
    Keeping Hague in the minors without a first basemen at the major league level that is better than he is  does not make sense, but Huntington does not like his own talent unless he is forced to bring one of them up do to injury or something like that.

    • Tim Williams

      Where did you read that the coaches had to beg for a Hughes call-up?

    • Tim Williams

      Where did you read that the coaches had to beg for a Hughes call-up?

  • Anonymous

    Tim, heard on the radio, don’t remember who said it.

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