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.
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.”