Dunlap: It’s About (In)Activity For Pirates

PITTSBURGH (93-7 The Fan) — Neal Huntington did the right thing on Monday at the deadline.

He pretty much did nothing.

That was the right thing — not fall in line with the buyers, not jump in with the sellers. Doing nothing and standing pat was the right choice.

Good on the Pirates general manager for getting something for an expiring contract in Tony Watson and that — along with picking up reliever Joaquin Benoit — was all that happened.

As tough as it is to see Watson (one of the best teammates a man can ever have and, full disclosure one of the finest men I have ever dealt with in a clubhouse) go, it was the right move for both sides. Here’s hoping Watson can get a ring with the Dodgers this season. He’s the type of person who deserves to realize baseball’s largest glory.

But back to Huntington …

I’m OK with saying he did the correct thing at this deadline, but you know what, it was only necessitated by the fact that the Pirates failed to pounce in the past and capitalize on a few instances when the really did have a chance. It is glaringly obvious right now they don’t have a chance — even as they sit just 5.5 games back of the NL Central leading Chicago Cubs.

How do I know they don’t have a chance right now? Huntington pretty much admitted as such when he didn’t upgrade the bench at the deadline and Pirates fans get to watch the act of Jaso and Moroff for the rest of the season. Had Huntington thought this team was a legitimate contender, he would have spent the nominal resources to upgrade over Jaso and Moroff.

He didn’t. And that’s all you need to know.

The part about Monday’s inactivity being necessitated by inactivity in the past is as plain as day to see. This club is in this predicament because they are still spinning from the fallout of going into the 2016 season coming off 98 wins but not upgrading. Instead, they took a step back with guys like Niese and Locke in a rotation that should have been bolstered and not stripped down.

That was the time to pounce; that was when the window was open widest.

Even still, there was a lifeline for now.

At the beginning of this season when both Kang and Marte were going to miss significant time, that served as another opportunity to go out and get someone to help soften the blow.

Instead, that financial flexibility turned into zilch.

Even as such, the Pirates were given yet another lifeline.

After winning six consecutive games not long ago and outfielder Gregory Polanco headed for a sure-fire disabled list stint, this club was still very much within striking distance.

What happened? More inactivity. It’s really tough to fathom.

So while the inactivity at the deadline was the right move — and I will never argue that — it should never be at this point.

Some real activity in the past might have turned things in a total different direction.

Colin Dunlap is a featured columnist at CBSPittsburgh.com. He can also be heard weekdays from 5:40 a.m. to 10 a.m. on Sports Radio 93-7 “The Fan.” You can e-mail him at colin.dunlap@cbsradio.com. Check out his bio here.

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