With the trade rumors surrounding Pittsburgh Pirates’ starting pitcher Gerrit Cole cooling off for the moment, Pirates general manager Neal Huntington is still in a tough predicament on determining what path the franchise should head down.
Huntington has always been one to value his own prospects, maybe a little too much in most people’s eyes.
And while every general manager in sports likes his own guys, Huntington seems to be in a position where he values his own guys too much.
Every GM in sports wants to have his own manager in place and players he drafts or acquires.
But with potential moves to be made this offseason and over the past couple of years, Huntington has shown commitment to his own guys instead of potential upgrades at each position.
Just with the rumored guys in a potential New York Yankees deal for Cole, a lot of the players being mentioned in a potential deal would be potential replacements for guys already in the system. Guys Huntington drafted and may be reluctant to either move or realize that they may not be the answer.
Clint Frazier would likely be a replacement for Meadows or Gregory Polanco. Miguel Andujar would likely mean Ke’Bryan Hayes isn’t the third baseman of the future. Chance Adams likely keeps a Nick Kingham, or plenty of other pitchers from cracking the Pirates’ rotation for a while.
The list goes on, but one thing is clear and that is that Huntington has a preference to his own guys.
That’s not necessarily a knock on Huntington as most general managers do tend to prefer their own guys.
But in this case it could be preventing Huntington from making upgrades around the diamond.
There’s still time before the season starts. Huntington could still get a nice return for Cole if he is dealt.
And who knows? Huntington may be wise for not blocking some of his guys from making their MLB debuts in the next year or two. After not being willing to entertain offers for guys like Glasnow, Meadows and others in the past, Huntington almost has to ride it out with them now and cross his fingers that they are who he thought they were (Dennis Green voice).
But if he’s wrong and some of his guys don’t become impact players at the major league level, it will be a tough pill to swallow knowing that upgrades were there for the taking.
An old GM once told me that you acquire prospects to trade them for necessary upgrades. That obviously hasn’t been the Pirates strategy.
Huntington wants to win. Don’t be foolish to think he doesn’t. But he also wants to do it with the guys he drafted.
I’m not as down on Huntington as most people, but sometimes falling in love with your own players can be a general manager’s worst mistake.
Only time will tell if it is Huntington’s downfall.