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Pirates GM Neal Huntington speaks after quiet deadline


PNC PARK – It was a quiet a deadline for the Pirates, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing for the club as it was a seller’s market and prices for impact talent were high.


Still, could the Pirates have made a minor trade to help their bench? Was that a missed opportunity or is there enough help in the minor league system? We’ll see. But every asset was believed to be over-priced due to market conditions.


Pirates GM Neal Huntington met with reporters at 5 p.m. today and said the club was willing to do something “stupid” to improve, just not anything “insane”


Apparently, the asking prices for impact talent were insane.

Here’s some of what Neal Huntington had to say….


*What was atop the priority list?


NH: “We probably focused more energy on the offense, trying to add a bat. As you saw in the market, not many bats moved anywhere. It was a very shallow market, not only the offensive market, but the pitching market was arguably (the weakest) I’ve seen in 20 plus years in the game. There were a lot of teams that opted to hold.”


*What kind of offers were made?


“I made offers that made me incredibly uncomfortable  but we did so because we wanted to help this club. We knew going in it was a seller’s market. … We looked exhaustively.”


*Were you willing to trade multiple top 50 prospects for an impact bat?


(C’mon we all know we are asking about Giancarlo Stanton)


“It’s a great question and one thing I don’t want to do is get into individual names and specifics because that’s the type of question where you can begin to piece it together and you can begin to figure out who we were willing to offer. We were willing to give up very good talent to get very good talent in return.”


*Were dollars a factor?
“There were some pieces as we were working  through where we would have taken on significant contracts. Was it a deciding factor, no? … (But) the cost of that talent also factors in.”


*Can internal options like Andrew Lambo fill a void on the bench?


“That’s legitimate (power). We acquired Andrew for a reason. He’s certainly put up some good numbers. We feel with some continued adjustments he could be a guy that helps us at the major league level this summer.”


*Does history show that it’s better to sell or hold at the trade deadline?


“We study history. We study the big market teams that have held, the big market teams that have moved prospects, the same with the mid- and small-market teams. The quickest way to head in the wrong direction is to move too much talent, too much minor league talent, for a shot to win one time. That’s the quickest way to undo all the good that you’ve done. We’ve talked about  from Day 1 we are working our tails off to acquire and develop a deep and talented farm system for two reason: one have [prospects] come directly and play  on our major league club … that’s how you sustain. You also develop players to be able to trade them for what you don’t have when it makes sense. We were willing to give up a lot when it made sense. We just weren’t able to find that last part.”





  1. CheatSalamander says:

    I think NH did exactly what an intelligent GM needed to do today. If we’re sitting at 55 wins right now….maybe you do start to venture into the “insane” realm. But based on where we are, I feel good about how it ended up. Go Bucs!

  2. 1/ I give credit to BMTIB for not making a move just to make a move.
    2/ I get tired——really tired——of hearing the small market excuse. If every reply, like above, is couched with the small market excuse, then BMTIB is always setting themselves up excuses.
    Cincinnati, Minnesota, Tampa Bay, St. Louis, etc., don’t constantly throw around the “small market” excuse. NO ONE IS ASKING THE PIRATES TO BE THE YANKEES, THE RED SOX, OR THE DODGERS. None of them is even in the Pirates’ division.
    When Huntington starts up with the small market crap, I have 4 words for him, via AJ Burnett: “Sit . . . . “

  3. Travis Sawchik says:

    I’m not sure it’s an excuse as much as it is a reality.

    But the other reality is if you draft really well, and find free agent bargains, and make smart trades you can compete as a small market.

  4. Travis Sawchik says:

    Really tough market, a lot of teams were unable to do something,

    I’m not sure if there’s a deal out there Neal could have pulled the trigger that he should have. But I do believe the quickest way to go down the toilet is to make an insane trade.

  5. Mozzery says:

    I will point out that comparing those markets to Pittsburgh doesn’t show Pittsburgh in as good a light as those markets. Minneaoplis metro area literally is around 50% bigger than us with over 1 million more people than Pittsburgh. Tampa Bay and St. Louis are both around 20% bigger than us as well, (with St. Louis having over 4000 more in attendance per game than Pittsburgh could POSSIBLY have considering seating capacity) only Cincinatti is really comparable to us and their extension for Votto/Phillips are banking on contracts spiraling skyward in the future, (in addition to TV revenues spiraling upwards, which has happened) and expectations that they’ll be able to handle his late 30’s seasons financially even though he’s likely to not be performing at a great level. In short, The Reds are probably you’re best case scenario in terms of what Pittsburgh could be financially in terms of shelling out dollars, and even then for them it was all about extensions, not free agent signings/taking on a lot of $ in trades.

  6. Leo Walter says:

    Travis : the best example is ? Did you say the Rays are ? I thought so.

  7. BostonsCommon says:

    Interesting quote on another site about how the exploding revenue in baseball is impacting the trade market. Baseball revenue growth is outpacing salary growth. So basically even if a team is stuck with a player on a bad contract (think Rios and White Sox), there is really no financial insentive to move him, so they can ask for the moon in terms of prospects. If they get them great, if not, no biggie. The $18M owed Rios next year is a drop in the ocean of cash in MLB.

  8. Leo Walter says:

    When Joe Madden and Andrew Friedman bring that subject up,do you tell them to ” Sit the ….down ” ? I didn’t think so.

  9. leefoo says:

    Groat2Maz….I assume you are now using that BMTIB acronym lovingly because we now have the best record in baseball and arguably the best farm system.

    NH is God!!!!


  10. Travis Sawchik says:

    The Rays are the best example, but St. Louis – while a very good baseball market – is not a large market either. The Cardinals have drafted and developed really well.

    Each market is different, and some smaller markets like Pittsburgh – that aren’t as transient – support teams better.

  11. Travis Sawchik says:

    Revenue is growing in general, but local TV revenue has really exploded in some places (Los Angeles and Texas) and not in others, like Pittsburgh, which has the worst local TV contract in baseball. So I think the Pirates are still at a considerable relative disadvantage unless they can negotiate a much better local TV deal in six years

  12. APensFan says:

    Toilet? Haven’t the Pirates spent the last 20 years in that toilet? We need to stop acting like this team hasn’t tried to rebuild several times in the last 20 years. The future is now… how about trying to win?

  13. NMR says:


  14. RobertoForever says:

    You mean ‘winning’, like being the best team in baseball and 20+ games over .500?

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