In an expansive Q&A with Mark Feinsand of MLB.com, Pirates general manager Neal Huntington discusses the challenges that accompany running a low-payroll club, noting that “large-dollar free-agent signs are not available to us,” so the Bucs must rely on developing cheap talent from within. As a result, Huntington has found it difficult to part with packages of prospects in trades for established major leaguers (Jose Quintana, for instance). “You can look around our entire club right how and anybody that came through our system, we could have traded somewhere along the way,” said Huntington. “Gerrit Cole, Jameson Taillon, Gregory Polanco, Starling Marte, Jordy Mercer, Josh Harrison, Josh Bell, Tony Watson; we could have traded any and of all of them at some point, and every single player we would have acquired wouldn’t be with the Pittsburgh Pirates anymore. They would have left for somewhere else because of free agency.”
More from the Central divisions:
- Superstar shortstop Francisco Lindor is under Indians control for the next five seasons, including two pre-arbitration years, but Zack Meisel of cleveland.com wonders how much the Tribe would have to pay to keep him in the fold for longer. Noting that the Indians would like to buy out at least one free agent year, Meisel proposes a six-year extension worth between $65MM and $75MM. Such a deal would indeed keep Lindor with the Indians for an extra season, and it would make him the first shortstop with between one and two years’ service time to ink an extension since then-Brave Andrelton Simmons (1.125 years) signed a seven-year, $58MM deal that bought out two free agent years in February 2014. At that point, the defensive virtuoso was a .256/.304/.400 hitter who had swatted 20 home runs, stolen seven bases and accounted for 6.6 fWAR over his initial 840 plate appearances. Lindor, who has one year and 113 days of service time, owns a .306/.356/.454 line, 27 homers, 31 steals and 10.4 fWAR in 1,122 PAs. He’s also an elite-caliber defender.
- Speaking of extensions, neither the White Sox nor shortstop Tim Anderson’s representatives wanted discussions on a new deal to drag into the season, according to Dan Hayes of CSN Chicago. Thus, it was a must for the two sides to reach an agreement by Opening Day, which they did Tuesday. Anderson’s camp was skeptical of signing a long-term pact when the White Sox contacted them several weeks ago, per Hayes, who reports that they rejected the team’s initial offer. But talks intensified from there and ultimately yielded a six-year, $25MM guarantee. “In the end, what really mattered was the fact that Tim wanted to do the deal, so we pulled the trigger,” said Patrick Murphy, the COO of Anderson’s agency, Reynolds Sports Management.
- The Brewers demoted reliever Michael Blazek to Triple-A on Wednesday, which frustrated the right-hander. “I’m not happy about it,” he said (Twitter link via Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel). Blazek is indignant mostly because he followed the Brewers’ orders to throw more fastballs during big league camp and still couldn’t crack their roster, writes Adam McCalvy of MLB.com. “I did what they told me to do,” stated the breaking ball-reliant Blazek. “I came into camp ready to go and they wanted me to throw the fastball more. That’s not the kind of pitcher I really am; I’m a guy who mixes stuff up. If they’re going off the way I was pitching in Spring Training throwing just fastballs, I mean, they didn’t really see the kind of pitcher that I am.” Blazek’s unsuccessful bid to land a roster spot came after he endured a rough 2016, in which he battled elbow troubles and logged a 5.66 ERA, 7.84 K/9 and 5.88 BB/9 over 41 1/3 innings. The year before, he registered a 2.43 ERA, 7.6 K/9 and 2.91 BB/9 over 55 2/3 frames.
Tim Anderson signing first step into the White Sox being a very good team for a very long time
pretty sure the trades that netted them moncada, kopech, giolitto, lopez, etc were the first steps for the Chi Sox being a good team for the foreseeable future.
You could put the 2016 draft before Tim Anderson too.
The process started way before yesterday’s extension of their young shortstop.
I think you mean “a good team IN the foreseeable future.”
Do u remember a guy named sale good luck with that .
Cleveland do it! Lock up Linder as long term as you can as soon as you can. This kid is special!
What are the Bucs gonna do with Osuna I wonder. Guess they could get rid of Jaso if they really had to
Osuna may have a chance at making the opening day roster on the bench considering Kang will be in extended spring training for awhile once he gets into the country. Assuming everybody’s healthy and Kangs issues are resolved, I’d imagine Osuna is a quality depth piece in AAA this year and gets Jaso’s sport next season.
I remember a certain Supergenius praising the A’s trade of Russel for the two pitchers. They “want to win”. How’s that working out? Also pushed to trade Marte for 18 months of Hunter Pence. And Malkin for Rick Nash if you want to compare his track record in other sports.
The Pirates track record with players who they identify as future big leaguers at the AA or AAA level has been pretty strong this decade. Jose Tabata the only true whiff as Pedro Alvarez was decent before he fell apart mentally.
Their best bet is to keep their blue chips and let them boom or bust on their own roster.
All while enjoying their 1 trip past the WC game in 25 years.
8 more playoff games than Quintana has ever been a part of, right?
The difference between all of those though is that Q is a long term piece, and is probably worth a large package
Perhaps for a small market team like Pittsburgh who will forever be shut out of signing significant free agents
It’s fairly foolish for Huntington to think that the Sox would lower their asking price though for a talent like Quintana
I almost feel bad for Pirates fans, as the whole Quintana saga is just a massive tease. The Pirates do not have the stones to make a deal on this level.
Acquiring JQ would improve the Bucs’ chances of rising to the top of the NL Central. To say they don’t have the stones to make a deal on this level is like saying a middle class man doesn’t have the stones to buy a Mercedes. Pirates fans are a resilient bunch, partly because we have to be. Their impressive core of players and prospects promises a bright future. They’re headed to the top of the NLC in the not-too-distant. With Quintana on board, they’d likely get there sooner. Without Q, they’d likely get there later but stay there longer. Pirates ownership prefers longer to sooner.
The only people in Pittsburgh who care about “the whole Quintana saga” are the yinzers like RC21 below who HATE the team and like to use it to “prove” that the Pirates are “cheap” and “don’t care about winning.”
Nevermind that Quintana is cheap and if the Pirates didn’t care about winning, they wouldn’t care about unloading their prospects.
The Pirate fans who want them to win have no interest in Quintana at anything close to the reported asking price.
Overall the pirates are a joke and will always be. You have a GM that is scared to trade top prospects for something that helps but meanwhile trades the 5th and 6th best last year just to dump salary for a pitcher that isn’t even good enough to pitch the 5th rotation spot. A minor league system that is never ready and loaded with promises. A scouting program that is unable to pick major league talent from possers that hold high value that could be used for trade bait. A fan base that is happy never winning pennant. Owners that cut salary, yet no one calls them out about it. A organization as a whole that cares to stay just interesting enough to just compete for a wild card spot and fans buy it up. Overall nothing about the pirates says winners or trying to win, yet there are fools out there that think anyone in that organization wants to win a championship other then maybe the players on the field.
Honestly I wish baseball would get fixed enough to at least put a salary cap floor in place to make teams try. Or at least force poor ownership out of the sport. Honestly pirate fans have to be the biggest fools of them all when they lie to themselves that management cares about winning. And worst of all there are morons out there that truely believe that the pirates are better then the penguins or steelers. Truth is the pirates are a distant third rate team in Pittsburgh and losing more distance as every year. It’s a true shame for a team that HAD such rich history.
Oh man. Typical Yinzer.
Double M, is that you?
I can see Blazek’s point. I can also see him being DFA or released, and picked up by another team now.