PITTSBURGH (93-7 The FAN) – Pirates General Manager Neal Huntington joined Starkey and Mueller to discuss the future for AJ Burnett, the improvement the minor league system has made during his tenure and contributions of players like Starter Edinson Volquez and First Baseman Andrew Lambo.
When it comes to the chances of AJ Burnett returning to the Pirates next year, Huntington isn’t ready to write him off and says the wait-and-see process hasn’t held them back.
“As I’ve said a lot of times before, waiting on AJ has not impacted what we wanted to do this offseason,” Huntington told the guys. “That said, if AJ Burnett tomorrow wakes up and decides he wants to be a Pirates again, he’s going to make our rotation that much stronger and we’ll figure out how to work through an excess of starting pitching. How long can we wait? As long as AJ is throwing and competitive and the fire is there and he’s passionate and he’s ready to go, we can still wait a while longer.”
One of the more intriguing situations to monitor this year will be the progress of Andrew Lambo as it appears as though he will be getting the first shot at winning the job at first base.
“Andrew played a lot of first base in high school,” according to Huntington. “And if those 34 home runs that he hit in the minor leagues last year as a 24-year-old can translate, then we’re going to give him every opportunity in the world to show us what the bat can do.”
You can also hear Huntington discuss the potential impact Outfielder Gregory Polanco will make at some point this year. What they’re hoping to get out of Edinson Volquez, and how it feels to see Baseball America rank his minor league system number one overall after it was in the bottom five when he took things over.