BRADENTON, Fla. (93-7 The Fan) – Spring Training is officially underway and the Pirates are looking to build upon the successes they’ve had over the past two seasons.
The man responsible for shaping the roster – General Manager Neal Huntington – joined the Fan Morning Show on Wednesday to talk about the upcoming season.
Huntington offered a laundry list of things that needed to change this offseason, but felt it’s hard to get everything out during Spring Training.
“Baseball’s the one sport [in which] it’s really hard to create game situations,” Huntington said.
Looking back on his moves last year Huntington said in hindsight he might have liked to look at them a little longer.
“It’s scientifically proven that winning teams are more cohesive than losing teams, and it’s also scientifically proven that more cohesive teams are more winning teams than not. And which comes first? We’re working hard to create that cohesion. And maybe I did disrupt it last year. At the same time, a lot of guys tell me, ‘Just stop talking about it. You need to let it go. It happened.’ And would I make the same moves again? In hindsight, I’d take a longer look at them. Will we make moves this July? Absolutely, if it’s the right moves for the right reasons, we’ve got to make them. We can’t be scared of our shadow,” Huntington said.
Huntington also addressed closer Jason Grilli’s comments about the team’s approach at the trade deadline.
“I did talk with him, and I just wanted to know his intent, and his intent was pure. It’s a great learning lesson for me. It’s a great learning lesson for him. And I know where Jason’s heart is, and his heart is in Pittsburgh,” Huntington said.
As far as making moves, the team could look within and promote some younger talent to the big leagues, including a guy like Gerrit Cole.
“If he is our best option, then we’ll make that move, but the challenge for us is we need to make sure guys are ready to contribute to a winning team. We’re at a point in time where we need guys to help us win, and pure stuff doesn’t always help you win,” Huntington said.
As for what the future may hold for the franchise, Huntington believes the talent is there to take the next step.
“The talent base is there to take that next step. How do we help it get better? How do I supplement it, whether it’s through our minor league system, or through free agency, or through trades? How does Clint [Hurdle] and our staff coach it up? How does our development staff coach our young guys up so that they’re ready to step in?”
Listen to the full interview here: