I WOULD NOT WANT TO be Pittsburgh Pirates General Manager Neal Huntington over the next three-plus weeks.
The man has the unenviable task of deciding whether to add to a ballclub that had the best winning percentage in Major League Baseball (.619 to Boston’s .609) as of Friday morning or standpat with an organization as it’s presently constituted.
I’m not sure how I’d play it if I were in his shoes.
That’s the God’s honest truth.
I just don’t know.
“It won’t be an easy call,” right fielder/first baseman Garrett Jones told the Tribune-Review. “I think if you keep things the way they are, with the talent we have, the chemistry ... hey, we’re winning. You can’t go wrong.”
The team could probably use another starting pitcher (preferably a left-hander), a shortstop and either a first baseman or a right fielder.
I think they’re solid everywhere else.
But does he really want to add another piece?
That’s a good question.
Two summers ago, Huntington only added Derrek Lee and Ryan Ludwick to a surprising Pirates team that failed to live up to its early season successes and he was lambasted for not doing enough.
Last year, the team was cruising along at the trading deadline with ‘Zoltan’ signs popping up all over the place and Huntington brought in Gabby Sanchez, Travis Snider, Wandy Rodriguez and Chad Qualls at the trade deadline.
Those moves backfired, robbing the Battling Bucs of all their clubhouse chemistry and in the end, largely contributed to the team’s monumental collapse.
“Honestly, I’ve always been a guy who says you never make a major move when (things are) going well,” bench player Brandon Inge also told the Trib. “When you’re making those moves, you’re looking for, what, talent and character, right? Well, we have that. We’re not missing anything. That’s the truth.”
I can definitely see both players’ point of view and would tend to agree with them to leave things be when the trade deadline rolls around on July 31.
Not adding is probably the soundest way to approach it, but I doubt some of the yahoos in and around Pittsburgh will see it that way.
You know the ones I’m talking about -- the guy that only knows about Andrew McCutchen and some dude named Grilled Cheese but not Vin Mazzaro or Ryan Reid. They’re clamoring for Giancarlo Stanton or some other flavor of the month and not caring about what the Pirates have to give up to get him.
They’ll be the ones hitting the airwaves and filling the Internet with their rants no matter what Huntington does at the end of the month.
And they’ll be the ones saying ‘I told you so’ at the end of the season if the Pirates don’t make the playoffs.
I guess Huntington’s damned if he does and damned if he doesn’t.
Definitely not an enviable position to be in.
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