Pirates GM Neal Huntington

Monday, November 12th

We first ask Neal if he knew Kang would sign back here when they released him and Neal said they absolutely didn't know that he would, but he also knew they were a good fit and there was a chance.  In terms of what they're expecting from Kang next year, Neal says they like him as depth and the value he brings them.  Looking at one of the teams strengths last year, the starting pitching, we ask Neal if he feels like his rotation set.  Neal says as soon as you feel like that, you're probably 10 pitchers short, so they're always looking at what they can do to add at that position.  Another position that saw some depth last year was catcher, and Neal points out they were the best in baseball at that position last year and that was in part to having two good players there, and they'd like to continue that model.  Having seen what Corey Dickerson did last year and the deal he's on with the team, we ask Neal about his future and he says Corey is everything they want a Pirates player to be and as they look forward, they'd like to keep him, but they have to be realistic about costs at every position, especially since they have a lot of young players closing in on their arbitration years.  Looking around the outfield, there will be a hole with Polanco not being ready for the start of the season and Neal tells us they've discussed their options both internally and externally and haven't landed on a final decision yet.  Looking back on last year, Neal talks about how he views that season and he believes they showed they can be a part of the playoff picture.  One player that was a disappointment last year was Josh Bell who admitted that he probably tried too hard to hit home runs last year and Neal tells us what he saw from Josh and why what they saw at the end of the season gives them hope for their first baseman next year.  We look around the diamond at other positions the team has in flux for next year including shortstop (Neal liked what they saw from Kevin Newman there) and second base (they'd like Adam Frazier to take that position everyday).  Given what we saw from teams like Tampa last year in the way they handled their rotation, we ask Neal what he thinks of that philosophy and he says it makes perfect sense when you don't have a workhorse and could help the bottom of your rotation, but you wouldn't see anyone do that with a guy like Jameson Taillon and players of his caliber.  Things wrap up with us asking Neal if they'll be more aggressive this offseason than they were last year.