Pittsburgh Pirates General Manager Neal Huntington talked  and more on his weekly radio show

Pittsburgh Pirates general manager Neal Huntington makes a weekly radio hit on the team’s flagship radio station 93.7 The Fan. Each Sunday, Pirates Breakdown will bring you a recapping of Huntington’s show, picking out the best tidbits from the show, hosted by Greg Brown. Let’s get started.

All quotes are direct from Neal Huntington as told to host Greg Brown.

On the frustration of seeing an in-division rival acquire Jose Quintana after the Pittsburgh Pirates were heavily interested in him over the off-season

We know what our conversations and plans were, and [Chicago White Sox GM] Rick Hahn came out and said this was the best offer he was given for Quintana, and if that’s the case, we were never going to get him to begin with.

On if he was surprised that the White Sox traded Quintana to the in-city rival Cubs

No I’m not, there’s a lot made out about in-division trades or inner city trades..I get the mentality I guess? We’ve always been of the mindset that if a move makes us the best team we can be, we focus more on what we’re getting than what we’re giving up, no matter what market.

On having a ‘Plan B’ in the case that Jung Ho Kang is unavailable in 2018 as well as the rest of 2017

Our plan B for this year was Adam Frazier and David Freese, and our plan B got stretched because of the Starling Marte suspension; we knew Max Moroff was on the rise, and Eric Wood as well, but our plan B got stretched a year ago As we start planning, we remain hopeful that there can be progress on this front, but there’s no question – we have to be prepared if there is a different result. What do we do, how do we prepare? Whether it be external or internal, it’s something we need to be considering.

Greg Brown followup: If you knew that Kang was unavailable this year and possibly next year, does that make the trade deadline more difficult?

In a perfect world, with Adam Frazier being able to play second, then move Josh Harrison over the third, we can play David Freese a little less often. That hasn’t happened. We still believe Max Moroff is going to become a very sound major league player; he’s here before he should ideally be here. That’s showing up in his offense. No question, as we go through the trade deadline, we need to be sure to target specific areas, and shrink that pool.

With Jose Osuna taking ground balls at third…maybe in a pinch or a game that gets away, might you want to throw him in there to see what he can do?

Our staff talked about it in spring training; we wanted to get him opportunities there in AAA, but the Marte situation happened and we needed him in the outfield. We did not want to put too much on the young man’s plate when he came up. Now we’ve decided – alright, he’s done a nice job; comfortable offensively and defensively, we can put a little more on his plate.

Clint Hurdle mentioned once he gets in the lineup, he would prefer that Marte not bounce around in the lineup. Where would you feel is the best spot for Starling in the lineup?

A lot like Josh, when he’s hitting he gets on base; when he’s at the top of the lineup, he’s getting on base, he’s stealing bases, he can wreak some havoc. In conversations with Clint, he’s working with our staff on the best spot for Marte; he’s figuring out the best spot for Marte going forward.

GB: he hit mainly fourth last year, but has hit pretty much everywhere in the top half during his career. Do you foresee his spot in the batting order change because he’s been away so long?

The signs that Gregory Polanco is turning a corner, the maturation process that Josh Bell is going through…where does Starling best fit and how does it fit altogether? I know Clint would like to just put him in one spot and keep him there…the best thing might be not to put him in the four-hole, because hitters might try to do too much. So, let’s put him in a spot where he’s been good, and again Clint is gathering input and has a pretty good feel for what he’d like to do.

On the upcoming four-game series against the Milwaukee Brewers and its effect on the Pittsburgh Pirates trade deadline plans

We don’t want to put too much on it, but yes, it will have a huge impact. We still need to play better baseball. We have eight games to make up as of now, and I’ve seen teams make up nine games on September 1st, much less August 1st. We still need to play better. I hate putting emphasis on one four-game series when we’ve played sub-.500 baseball to this point.

On Tyler Glasnow’s progress in Triple-A and if he can rejoin the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2017

Getting closer. the last outing was mid-60 percent strikes ,no walks, strikeouts….got some depth into the game; talking aobut Tyler’s approach, he lost his curveball in the middle of that start and was able to get through. Folding that back in, to get him to be that pitcher that has three pitches that hitters respect, he’s doing a much better job o approaching those hitters down there as if they are major league hitters. Our approach from the beginning is that he needs to have those three pitches.

 

Jason Rollison

Jason Rollison has been analyzing baseball and the Pirates in one way or another for 4+ years. Jason's previous stops include rumbunter.com, Pittsburgh Sporting News, Call To The Pen and several print publications. He also covers the State College Spikes for the Centre County Gazette (State College, PA) When it comes to analyzing baseball, he likes to take a middle-of-the-road approach, with one foot on the analytics side of the fence and the other on the old-school side. Having said that, he is a sucker for pitchf/x. Jason has appeared as a phone-in and in-studio guests in numerous outlets, including Trib Live Radio and 93.7 The Fan (CBS Sports Radio)