Neal Huntington Rumors
Brendan Bianowicz continues to update the GM Trade History series, covering the NL Central today. Click below to download Excel spreadsheets chronicling trades, free agent signings, and top draft picks for each GM.
- Pittsburgh Pirates - Neil Huntington
- Chicago Cubs - Jim Hendry
- Cincinnati Reds - Walt Jocketty
- Houston Astros - Ed Wade
- St. Louis Cardinals - John Mozeliak
- Milwaukee Brewers - Doug Melvin
- Kovacevic says the Pirates "do not plan to pursue a starting pitcher through free agency or trade this offseason." The Bucs figure to enter Spring Training next year with four rotation spots decided and many options for the last spot.
- As hot stove junkies, we love when GMs are revealing about offseason plans and payroll space. However, it's often not in the best interest of the team for the GM to disclose that information. With that in mind, Huntington is staying mum on free agent targets and the team's 2010 payroll.
- Pirates president Frank Coonelly admitted next year's payroll will exceed the current $28MM projection, but wouldn't provide more detail. Coonelly added, "This is a relatively weak free-agent class. Nevertheless, there are several players who would be of interest to us if they become free agents." A few weeks ago, Kovacevic suggested Rick Ankiel and John Grabow are possible free agent targets for the Pirates.
- The Pirates fell below their draft and international budgets this year, and Coonelly says that money will roll over to the corresponding budgets in 2010.
- Huntington and manager John Russell are signed through next year. Coonelly expects both to remain with the team beyond 2010.
- In a Pirates 2010 outlook for MLB.com, Jenifer Langosch names Denny Bautista and Tyler Yates as non-tender candidates.
"Miguel Sano has apparently agreed to terms with another organization without his agent engaging the Pirates in legitimate negotiations."
TUESDAY: Dejan Kovacevic of the Pittsburgh Post Gazette reports that the Twins will sign Dominican shortstop Miguel Angel Sano. Sano will receive a bonus of $3.15MM, the largest for an international amateur player given this summer. Sano's would be the second largest Latin American signing bonus ever behind only Dominican pitcher Michael Ynoa, who signed with the A's for $4.25MM last year, says Baseball America. It's the second largest in Twins history behind Joe Mauer's $5.15MM.
Last May, Kovacevic said Sano's bonus could reach $3MM. The deal will be signed tomorrow; however, Jorge Arangure of ESPN the Magazine adds via Twitter that "this deal isn't completed until Sano gets a visa to play in the U.S. And that's no given." While his age remains unconfirmed, Sano's saying he's 16.
The signing comes as a surprise. As many as 8-10 teams were reportedly interested in Sano, but it was the Pirates that had intensely pursued him. Kovacevic notes a breakdown between Sano's agent, Rob Plummer, and the Pirates:
"Plummer made clear that his relationship with the Pirates, particularly general manager Neal Huntington and Latin American scouting director Rene Gayo, became frayed during the process. The Pirates were the most aggressive team once the July 2 international signing period began, making offers of $2 million at the time and $2.6 million a month ago -- the latter payment to be split in three parts -- but talks were minimal in the past three weeks... each side expressed strong distrust in the other."
According to Kovacevic, Plummer says Huntington never believed other teams were interested in Sano and was overly concerned he was bidding against himself.
Tim Dierkes also contributed to this post.
WEDNESDAY: Dejan Kovacevic talked to Huntington, who "blamed Mientkiewicz's lingering frustration with the team's lack of communication on Mientkiewicz's now-former agent." Huntington said the door remains open for Minky.
MONDAY: First baseman Doug Mientkiewicz told Jenifer Langosch of MLB.com that he doubts he'll return to the Pittsburgh Pirates organization this season.
According to Mientkiewicz, the Pirates have not made an offer or any attempts to get in touch with him as the offseason has progressed. He has not spoken with general manager Neal Huntington or manager John Russell, a close friend of Mientkiewicz's, since the season ended, Langosch wrote.
Mientkiewicz, 35 in June, hit .277 with 30 RBI in 125 games. As a Pirate, he played some third base for the first time in his career.
A collection of links to browse on this fine Monday.
- Jason Lane can exercise an out clause if he's not promoted to the bigs today. The 31 year-old outfielder is hitting .248/.340/.485 with 11 home runs in 202 Triple A at-bats.
- The Dodgers hope to acquire a veteran utility infielder as an insurance policy for Rafael Furcal. Any suggestions?
- The Hardball Times' Mike Lee did an enjoyable interview with Pirates GM Neal Huntington. I have a feeling we'll get a better grasp on Huntington's trading abilities within the next few months.
- CBSSports.com added Danny Knobler to their team. He's always been a good source for inside info on the Tigers.
- RotoAuthority has waiver wire advice at every position.
A few notes to wrap up what I've come across this Saturday:
- The Hardball Times has an interview with Pirates GM Neal Huntington. It's plenty long. He talks about the dynamics in dealing with his former team, the Cleveland Indians.
- Steve Trachsel might be on his way out with the Orioles. Tough to argue against that move. As I mentioned in an earlier post, the O's are in the cellar, and might not climb out for the rest of 2008.
- Chris Duncan down, Joe Mather up. Could Mather be the piece that rounds out a powerful outfield? Or could he be trade bait to bring back, say, a second baseman?
- Glendon Rusch is back in the majors, having been recalled by the Rockies.
According to John Perrotto of the Beaver County Times, the Pirates are likely to hire Neal Huntington as their next GM. Huntington is currently a special assistant to Mark Shapiro in Cleveland. Perrotto believes Huntington could be announced Monday.
Cory Humes of Pittsburgh Lumber Co. has been Googling his heart out to dig up more info on Huntington, so I refer you to him.
Huntington appears to love the scouting aspect of the game. There's a lot of good info and quotes from this 2005 Jerry Crasnick article, though it's behind the ESPN Insider wall. Paid content is dying...I'm waiting for ESPN to go the way of the New York Times and knock down the wall. No one is going to subscribe to ESPN to read this Huntington article, but if it was freely available they'd get a ton of traffic and make money off ads on it. And while I'm on my soapbox: pay-for-subscription websites shouldn't show ads to its subscribers.