PITTSBURGH (93-7 The Fan) – Pittsburgh Pirates General Manager Neal Huntington is already moving forward to 2014, but he did take time to join The Fan Morning Show on Thursday to review the 2013 season and what lies ahead this winter.
‘We should celebrate what we did this year this year as an organization,” Huntington said. “We crossed off many things, but we did not reach our goal so It’s back to work.”
His first task is to address the offense, which is why they fell short of their goal to win the World Series.
Huntington said the Pirates will explore free agency and the trade market, but will also have to count on some internal candidates to produce.
The Pirates, among the other 29 teams in MLB, will get a boost in the funds available with the TV market revenue.
“Whatever we get will go into payroll,” Huntington said. “But, it’s not like we have found a pot of money when nobody else has.”
The Pirates will use that money on first having to pay significant increases to arbitration eligible players like Pedro Alvarez. Huntington said that they hope to get a deal done and avoid arbitration and settle on a fair price, but they will have a case ready to go if they need to.
Huntington said they have had no discussions yet with Alvarez regarding a long-term deal.
The other decisions need to be made are with free agents like A.J. Burnett and Marlon Byrd.
Huntington says that Burnett must first decide if he wants to continue to play.
“If he decides he wants to play again, we will do everything in our power to keep him in Pittsburgh,” Huntington said.
He points out that he was a big part of the team’s success and would have gotten the ball in Game 5 of the NLDS if it were anywhere but St. Louis.
Byrd is a guy the Pirates would want back, but Huntington indicates that he may be out of range. He said that four or five teams have already expressed interest in a power bat and he would fit that role and he would be due a big pay day.
Huntington indicates that Gregory Polanco is going to be a great Major League player, but is not sure if he will arrive here in 2014. They will look at Andrew Lambo as well as Jose Tabatta to fill right field as well as explore what is out there via trade or free agents.
Huntington said the bullpen could be a source from which they could trade from.
Huntington also said it was a special season this year, but not special enough. The goal is to win the World Series.
“We will put our head down and go back to work,” Huntington said. “We want to put the best club on the field for 2014 and take the next step forward.”
Listen to the full interview here: