Pirates owner Bob Nutting and new team president Travis Williams met with the media this week to discuss the organization’s direction. The team has already undergone its fair share of tumult this offseason, having fired manager Clint Hurdle and, a month later, cutting ties with general manager Neal Huntington.
Nutting and Williams were noncommittal on where the organization goes from here. Asked about the possibility of embarking on a large-scale rebuild, Nutting told reporters (including Adam Berry of MLB.com) “I think that’s a discussion with the new general manager as we chart that path forward. It is challenging to have continued success and retool at the same time as you’re focused on the field. Given where we are, with some of the young talent in the organization, we’re not in a traditional point in time to blow it up. But I do think we need to have every option on the table. There’s no question we need to have more talent throughout the organization.” That’s hardly a definitive declaration of an oncoming rebuild, but it’s interesting to hear the club reevaluating its options after reportedly not planning to shop one of its most valuable trade pieces, Starling Marté, just last week.
As Nutting indicated, the organization’s outlook will be up to whomever he and Williams tab as GM. The team president indicated that he plans to be relatively hands-off with regards off to baseball operations, as Berry recaps. Williams said his role in the organization is to surround himself with quality baseball minds, while limiting himself to “oversight and some checks and balances.” Kevan Graves has taken over as GM on an interim basis, and while Berry notes that some in the industry consider Graves to be a potential GM someday, there’s no indication the organization plans to turn things over to him permanently just yet.
Who is in consideration to replace Huntington? That’s still largely up in the air, of course, given how recently the club moved on from their longtime GM, who was involved in the hiring process for manager up until his own dismissal. Myriad names have trickled out, with Berry (in a separate piece) and Rob Biertempfel of the Athletic identifying some early candidates. Interestingly, both name Blue Jays senior VP of player personnel Tony LaCava and Brewers assistant GM Matt Arnold as options, echoing earlier reports.
Meanwhile, Jason Mackey of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (via Twitter) adds former Orioles GM Dan Duquette to the list of people whom the organization has looked into. Duquette shepherded Baltimore between 2011 and 2018, overseeing one of the most successful clubs of the first half of the decade before the organization hit the skids in 2017. While there, he worked with former Pirates senior director of player development Brian Graham, whose contract with the Orioles expires this week. Graham tells Biertempfel he’d be interested in returning to Pittsburgh in some capacity, perhaps even as GM. While the front office has completely been reshaped since Graham’s time in the Steel City, Nutting remains as owner and surely has final say on all hiring decisions.
The organization clearly remains very much in flux, with little certainty likely to emerge until they settle on a new baseball ops leader. Whomever they choose, he or she will their work cut out for them trying to regroup after a dismal 69-93 season, as MLBTR’s Steve Adams explored in his Pirates offseason outlook.
Summary: I dunno.
Not shopping Marte would be a mistake. I know the Pirates have been burned on trades in recent years but you’d have to think that the new GM won’t roll over like Huntington. Marte is their best trade asset at this point and with the rest of the central the way it is, it’s hard to see them making a push for at least another couple of years.
Given the lack of Center fielders in free agency.. could be a good idea as the price would be high.. but in order to trade him there would need to be a higher bar if done this off season. Much Much Much higher than what Cutch fetched for sure.
Cutch got a decent return considering where Cutch was at in his career at the time. You would be correct the Marte should fetch a higher return based on where he is at right now. I my humble opinion, Marte will only be moved if he does get a quality return.
yeah decent return. Cutch bounced back from his crap performance to about where marte has been for his whole career. so it wasn’t the worst, just not consistent like marte.
I tend to agree.. but at midseason if the team is in the gutter.. sell. IMO.. which sucks cause Marte has been my favorite pirate since he came up… minus a bit after the suspension.
The Pirates got Bryan Reynolds in the Cutch trade. Wanna undo that trade? (Note: Cutch has played for three teams since he left Pittsburgh and remains near the bottom of outfield defense.)
no, i thought it was a reasonably fair trade at the time.. well after the inital freak out lol. though i did want a bit more like another mid range prospect.. but still reasonably fair….
Now it looks like it could be lop sided for the pirates especially considering Cutch’s injury
On defense… Melky and marte having down year really through a kink in the OF defense. With Melky in the OF more work for Marte making his down year a bit worse. Having a not the worst OF in right would help Marte and Reynolds numbers.
IN 2018 pirates where top 10 using UZR/150
Is it just me or are real Pirates fans that actually want to see Pittsburgh stand a chance of winning the World Series at the soonest possible season “Nutting” all over this firing?
Bell should be considered or extended long term. His agent likely won’t extend…
Screw the Nationals. Go Astros! Disrespectful fans booing the President! Drain the swamp! Strasburg will come back to SD! 🙂
For the next week at least, whenever you are about to speak, Don’t.
I second that emotion…..
Kind of a dumb reasoning considering he would be loudly booed in any major league stadium he went to
Probably right.. but I think he has the best chance of not being booed Friday ( rumor has him attending MMA card at MSG. )
Boo boo, snowflake
Go Astros! You traded for a man who assaulted the mother of his child. Then one of your officials screamed at a group of reporters “Thank God we got Osuna! I’m so f—— glad we got Osuna!.” This wasn’t a group of male reporters, or a mix of male and female reporters. It was a group of female reporters with one wearing a violence awareness bracelet. The intent of the insult pretty clear.
BTW…how did he do that last game? I see how you love dump. Great minds think alike.
They let Huntington pick and interview several manager candidates then fired him.
Could be they were thinking of keeping him until said managerial candidates said that they had reservations in taking the job since Huntington was the only one left in the FO with only 2 years left for sure. Managers know that if a GM goes they could easily go after the new GM comes in.
Sometimes it feels like beating a dead horse discussing what the Pirates should do.
Not trading Marte for a healthy return would be their biggest mistake this off season. He’s one of the few assets that can garner a return of true top prospects. There shouldn’t be anyone in the organization that is untouchable, at this point.
The Pirates have been doing half measure business for so long now, that it feels like they have no clues that there are other ways to be successful.
The problem is, has been, and will remain income disparity. The Pirates, like maybe half of all MLB teams, lack the money to compete with mega-clubs for proven MLB talent. So it seems as if they have no choice but to sell off their assets for prospects. But the solution is better evaluation of talent, followed by relatively low-cost, long-term extensions for young players. The people in the Pirates organization who have to decide which prospects they will take for Marté, for example, are likely the same people who put together the club that has fizzled on the field. Sure, you can trade your center fielder, but do you have any confidence in the organization’s ability to identify and acquire real talent in return?
Accountability from Ownership down through organization! Do your job and invest to win the World Series.
Who ever it is, they’ll probably wait until closer to the break as they get used to the team and franchise.
In june if the team is doing poorly in the standings a consistent marte will still have a high return, if a new pitching coach turns Archer around should have a pretty good return. Kela should have a fair return for a rental, based on ability anyway. most of the rest of the team are under team control for quite a while. so any trade should include near ready prospects to have a chance to make a push in 21/22. A healthy polanco should have a fairly good return as well (like a handful of fringy players) but pirates would probably need to send some cash along with him to cover is $21M or so guaranteed contract.
stan lee the manly
If Marte gets hurt or slumps during a significant portion of the first half, you won’t get anything for him with his age. NOW is the time to trade him, especially with the centerfield market being so thin. Holding on to him is high risk, same reward AT BEST, a complete failure at worst.
GIven all the other position player are fairy set with a question at Catcher.
And there are a lot of options in free agency for pitcher this year… assuming the New GM wants to go after them.
If you can solidify those and new coaching staff is able to get them going, they could actually be pretty good… series likely not but in the running for a playoff birth
Unless someone over pays, you keep marte to see how it pans out. Its a small risk but a reasonable one.
You need a 3rd basemen and also a catcher. A few other good top arms and then you might have potential.
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Thanks for the insight army.
Pirate fans did not know that.
sorta like holding onto a closer at last years deadline in hopes of flipping him in the offseason !! how did that work out?
@ ronald greenalwalt With his talent, they should not have dumped him for a low return. Tell me how you knew he would be sitting in jail a few weeks after the trade deadline? Based on his performance, The Pirates would have been foolish to accept a weak offer just to make a trade. The only way to get other teams to better their offers is to withhold making a trade. A couple of teams in this years playoffs would have been calling the Bucs this winter about their former closer had he not turned out to be a slug. off the field.
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Ronald-seems like your hindsight is 20-20.
The time to trade Marte is when you get an offer that is a fair offer. If you trade a player just to trade them, you always get less than what you should. If teams are low balling you have to refuse them all now and take your chances on the 2020 performance of Marte.. If you trade him just to trade him, the new GM will really see the local fans and sports media go off the deep end on him.
I thought being a White Sox fan was hard, sorry Pirate fans. Only a 2nd rate operation like the Pirates would first fire the manager, have the GM start a manager search and then a month later fire the GM and President and start over again.
Duquette would be hilarious. The plan should be pretty straightforward:
Trade Marte, Polanco, Archer, and Kela to start
Even consider trading guys like Bell and Reynolds if offered a decent haul
Sign veterans to one-year deals and flip at the deadline
Invest in the international market
vazquez will likely be voided. not sure if he has to be in the franchise when that happens or not?
After flipping positions on both Hurdle and Huntington it’s hard to believe anything Nutting says. But in this instance he’s spoken several paragraphs that amount to “idk” or “no comment”, so in a weird way it’s a step in the right direction.
I heard Taubman is looking for work….too soon?
maybe they can find a team dumb enough to think Chris Archer is any good. oh wait, the Rays already did that.
White Sox – Archer for Dunning
No. Dunning is fine staying on the South Side.
The Pirates are a mess because the owner refuses to spend money of any kind. All the Pirates have done is bleed the organization of talent with nothing to show for it.
You know, a fan could almost stomach what’s taken place here the last few years—almost— if the minor league system was full of promise. But when you read that any catching prospect is 2-3 years out, that Keller is really all that has started potential for a couple years and that the outfield has no “future stars” on the horizon, it kind of looks like we are at the start of another long losing cycle
Yep, the Pirates are just a AAAA feeder for the rest of the league. I hate that.
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Not sure what AAAA feeder for the rest of the league means but I suggest that you look at their record against the White Sox over the last several years.
Makes you wonder what the scouts are looking at?
the Mets won’t spend the money for a real manager they will hire a yes man just like Brody so I think that Beltran is next. The Wilpons are to cheap and are the worst owners in Baseball
I think that the Mets should hire Rothchild as there new Pitching coach
They need to hire a manager first
Same dismal pirates. They need to spend in free agency to acquire a few good bats and pitching. I see them being cellar dwellers unless cheap bob opens the wallet. Not going to happen.
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Army-Thanks for your upbeat attitude on the Pirates.
Bob has spent Nutting on the Pirates for several years now.
Maybe the new president will tell him similiar to what Hurdle told them in 2010 about what he has to do to compete.