Neal Huntington

Pirates GM Neal Huntington Talks Deadline: 13 Most Important Points

Austin Meadows and Neal Huntington

Pirates GM Neal Huntington (right) is looking to the future holding players like first-rounder Austin Meadows (Courtesy: Pittsburgh Pirates)

Pirates general manager Neal Huntington said he was “willing to do something stupid” at the MLB Trade Deadline, but not “insane.” The prevailing sentiment from his post-deadline press conference Wednesday was that he made many offers for trades big and small, but the asking price of prospects ended up being too high. So Huntington and the Bucs held steady.

“There’s no question we forced the issue,” Huntington said. “I made offers that made me incredibly uncomfortable.”

Here are the highlights from Huntington’s talk with the media at PNC Park.

1. The GM did not mention any specific trade targets. I asked if I could possibly get him to comment on reports that the Pirates had asked the Marlins about slugger Giancarlo Stanton. His response, with a smile: “You can’t get me to comment on that one.”

2. The Pirates were “in conversations” and “looked exhaustively” on big, moderate and small deals.

3. “We probably focused more energy on the offense and trying to add a bat… Not many bats moved anywhere.”

4. Huntington called the overall trade market thin, a “seller’s market” and “arguably one of the shallowest” over his 20+ years in pro baseball.

5. He cited teams signing young players to contract extensions as one reason there was less talent available for which to trade.

6. The Pirates will also look “exhaustively” at the market for waiver trades. The challenge could be making waiver claims on players when the team’s record puts them in the back of the wire pack behind aggressive claimers. “We want to be sitting 28, 29 or 30.”

7. For teams that were selling, Huntington called most potential deals a “difficult match” or that sellers did not have the players he wanted.

Andrew Lambo Pirates

Huntington is looking for minor-leaguer Andrew Lambo to grow and adjust. (Photo Credit: David Hague)

8. Outfielder/First Baseman Andrew Lambo needs to show “continued growth,” but could help the Major League team at some point. “You hit 27 home runs in the Eastern League and the International League, that’s legitimate.”

9. The Pirates could have possibly taken on “significant” contracts in trades.

10. He said figuring out how a player would have fit in the Pirates’ clubhouse chemistry was a factor in trade talks.

11. I asked Huntington if he thought his current roster was the “best 25″ of healthy players. “We think they’re the right 25, and the guys that are ready to be up here, the guys that are ready to contribute at the Major League level.”

12. The GM had to balance the asking price for Major League talent with the future needs of the organization. “Even the [offers] that we stretched into the stupid level, we found a cut-off point where it just didn’t make sense for us… The quickest way to head in the wrong direction is to move too much minor-league talent for a shot to win one time.”

13. Huntington remarked that not many trades were made across the league. “We’re not alone sitting here today with people asking why you didn’t do anything.”

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James Santelli

James covers the Pirates beat for Pirates Prospects. He is a Broadcast Journalism student at USC and has written for such outlets as, Pittsburgh Magazine and the official websites of the Los Angeles Clippers and Pittsburgh Penguins. James previously covered the Pirates for Pittsburgh Sports Report. He also broadcasts play-by-play for the USC Trojans baseball team and was awarded the 2013 Chick Hearn Memorial Scholarship and Allan Malamud Scholarship. James dispenses puns at his Twitter account (@JamesSantelli) where he promises to write in first-person. Google

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  • LongJohnSilver

    Pirates general manager Neal Huntington said he was “willing to do something stupid”.

    He did. He did nothing.

    • benh444

      Would people have rather NH given up Glasnow for Rios and cripple any financial flexibility the Pirates have next year? In case you haven’t noticed, the Pirates have made steady progress over the past 3 years to the point that they have the best record in baseball on July 31. How have they done that? By not mortgaging the future in trades for a quick fix. Stay the course and even if they don’t win the NL this year, know that they have two of the top prospects in the game who should be up to address the needs they have this year

      • Kevin_Young

        A step further…I’ll almost guarantee Glasnow alone would not have been enough.

      • LongJohnSilver

        Cripple financial flexibility? Schierholtz wouldn’t have done that, nor would have DeJesus. Both were upgrades. In case you haven’t noticed, there has been a hitting shortage in Pittsburgh for 3 years running. You know the current rankings of the Pirates offense this year. To ignore that as NH did, and to hear, “top prospects in the game who should be up to address the needs they have this year” looking towards the future, is the same thing we have heard time and time again. Who will be up next year to solve this problem? Lambo? We have him now. Polanco who is still at AA? Bell who is in A ball?? Or do we have to wait another year to find the solution? At what point to you fish or cut bait? How many “prospects” fail to make it?

        To be in the situation that the Pirates are in this year, and after all the suffering we have endured over the past 20 years, to do nothing, is, IMO, a failure of leadership on NH part.

        • sammykhalifa

          That’s the logic that would have had us trade BJ Upton for Taillon and Starling Marte last year.

          • joe g.

            I bet l
            Long John would have endorsed that trade! : D

        • Nathan Swartz

          Man, I wish you were the GM of a rival team.

          For all we know, the cubs wanted too much for NS or DDJ. You act like NH just CHOSE to do nothing.

          You seem to be a fan of doing something just for the appearance of doing something.

          There was NOBODY worth Taillon, Polanco, Hansen, or Glasnow. Take a look around, even if you think NH failed, what about the “awesome” GMs? What did they do? Oh, thats right. Nothing.

        • BuccosFanStuckinMD

          Schierhotlz would have been a nice addition at the right price, but I would not have traded any of our top 5 prospects for him – and I suspect the price tag was even higher than that.

          As for DeJesus, I don’t think he would have been much of an upgrade and I do not understand why the Pirates were even considering him. He’s a center fielder with little power. I am glad they did not trade for him, as that would have been pointless. I would rather they bring up Lambo and try a platoon of him and Tabata.

        • Kevin_Young

          “Fish or cut bait” I see what you did there Long John….and I like it.

    • skliesen

      On the surface, it appears you are correct LongJohn, but considering there were next to no position players dealt, I think you’re likely not.

      Hope to see Lambo patrolling RF soon.

  • SteveW

    Wrong. What he did was very smart. Didn’t panic and give up good prospects for the mediocrity that was on the market.

  • Alley2Maz

    Excellent interview/article.

  • burghdood

    Remember when the Penguins signed all those superstars last winter, & they looked like a can’t miss Stanley Cupper? I was thinking at the time that they looked like a Hockey version of the ’27 Yankees…so much for looking great with free agents & trades “on paper”!!

    Glad they stood pat!

  • piratemike

    The Pirates are not going to be drafting in the top 10 next year and maybe not even in the top 20 for the next couple years. They better hold on to as many of their prospects as they can.
    I was pretty vocal about the Bucs acquiring some hitters by the deadline but after following the reports there just wasn’t any deals to be made without selling the farm.

  • TonyC17

    Longjohnsilver, as the article states, NH attempted to make deals on all players. Big deals and small deals. I also read that NH threw a great offer for Stanton that had the marlins thinking but ultimately said no. You don’t just make a move to make a move. You say sheirholtz and dejesus are upgrades. But by how much? Either one should have been a platoon player. So u think we should give up a top 10 player for a platoon player. Only player I’m giving up top 10 players for is Stanton. He will continue to look, but there is nothing there. U seen how much teams overpaid just in the few trades that were made.

  • smurph

    Huntington said he tried for all levels of talent. Not only did he make an offer for Stanton, he also made an offer for Trumbo. Both were rejected. You are completely wrong longjohn. Did you see what the Rangers gave up for two months (10 starts) for Garza? WAY too much.

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