By: Joe Kapp

PITTSBURGH (93-7 The Fan) — Pittsburgh Pirates General Manager Neal Huntington joined The Cook and Poni Show on Thursday to put a cap on the 2015 season.

Huntington has a busy off season ahead of him and some key decisions to make for a team that finished the 2015 regular season with 98 wins, which was second place in the NL Central and a home wild card game which they lost 4-0 to the Chicago Cubs who have advanced to the NLCS.

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“It’s not where we wanted to be at this point,” Huntington said. “We wanted to be preparing for our next opponent and not preparing for the off season. It was a great year, but we didn’t reach our ultimate goal.”

Huntington says that the team failed before even facing Jake Arrieta in the Wild Card game because they fell short of winning the division and the chance of facing a hot pitcher in a one and done situation.

“There is a number of things we could have done better,” Huntington said. “That is what we look at now. How can we improve on what we did this year and where do we make changes.”

Huntington says he doesn’t expect any change with the Wild Card game being a one-game situation because it would take away the advantage for the teams that win the division, but he thinks a simple solution could be to reseed the playoff teams.

“The challenge is you don’t want to be the team that has played in the (Wild Card) three consecutive years,” Huntington added. “We don’t want to be playing in it for a fourth consecutive year.”

So that means some tough decisions need to be made this off season with the Pirates having some key free agents and players due a major raise in arbitration, including closer Mark Melancon. Could the Pirates actually afford to make their closer a 10 million dollar player?

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“It’s something you have to think about when you have one as good as Melancon,” Huntington said. “We can afford players the challenge is how do we afford a championship caliber club.”

Huntington admits they have some tough decisions to make and he said they would like to bring back all of their eight free agents that make sense.

Huntington also admitted that the injury to Jung Ho Kang could play a role in some of those decisions, because even though they expect him to make a full recovery, they don’t have a clear idea of when he will return to the lineup.

Moving Neil Walker to first base doesn’t sound like an option they will consider, saying it’s unfair to him to ask him to change position as a free agent to be.

Hear what Huntington had to say about the other off season questions and who he is picking for the World Series by listening to the full interview here:

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