The Guardians have hired former Pirates general manager Neal Huntington as special assistant, baseball projects, reports Britt Ghiroli of The Athletic.
This is something of a homecoming for Huntington, as he spent about a decade working for the club, then known as the Indians, as part of his ascent to becoming a GM. He got his feet wet with the Expos, working as assistant director of player development in 1995, jumping to Cleveland in 1998, becoming assistant director of minor league operations, then director of player development, assistant general manager and special assistant to the general manager.
In 2007, the Pirates hired him to be their general manager, at a time when the club hadn’t made the playoffs since 1992. With Huntington at the helm, the club eventually managed to break that streak, finishing second in the NL Central and qualifying for the Wild Card game in three straight years, beginning in 2013. Unfortunately, that was the peak of the team’s success during Huntington’s time, as they faded in subsequent seasons, which included his most infamous transaction, sending Tyler Glasnow, Austin Meadows and Shane Baz to the Rays in exchange for Chris Archer. The club went on a firing spree in 2019, with Huntington being one of the casualties, along with the team’s president, manager and a few coaches, as the franchise underwent a massive overhaul. Ben Cherington was hired as the club’s new GM to undertake a total rebuild that is still ongoing, with the club finishing in the basement of the division the past three years.
Huntington now returns to an organization where he got his first sizable taste of front office work, though surely in a role that will be less forward-facing than his job in Pittsburgh.