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Blog Entry

Huntington deserves chance to see it through

Posted on: September 11, 2011 2:14 pm
 
The year before Neal Huntington took over as general manager, the Pirates lost 95 games.

In Huntington's first three years as GM the Pirates lost 299 games. This year, despite playing over their heads in the first half, the Pirates may well lose 90 games.

Sunday morning, the Pirates extended Huntington's contract by three years.

And it was the right move.

It's hard to be patient when you haven't had a winning season since Barry Bonds and Jim Leyland were young. But it's worse to ask someone to install a long-term plan, and then not give him a term long enough to make it work.

Surprisingly, patience seems to be the new trend in baseball, at least when it comes to GMs. The Mariners extended Jack Zduriencik, despite another losing season. The Tigers extended Dave Dombrowski, before waiting to see whether his team would get back to the playoffs (which they will).

Now the Pirates have extended Huntington, whose tenure has been marked by some poor decisions at the big-league level, but also by a significant improvement in young talent in the big leagues and in more on the way. Huntington convinced his bosses to trade away popular players who didn't fit his timeline, and the Pirates spent money on the draft, rather than on adding marginal major-league players who could have added a (very) few wins, but couldn't have made a real difference.

They put trust in Huntington and in scouting director Greg Smith, the guy who drafted two of the leading candidates for American League MVP (Justin Verlander and Curtis Granderson).

I'm not sure the Pirates are headed for success, but I am sure that Huntington and his team deserved the chance to see their plan through.

There's a time when patience will and should run out. As Jim Hendry said when the Cubs fired him, not many GMs last for nine years without winning a World Series.

Huntington's Pirates haven't come close to winning a World Series. They haven't really come close to having a winning record.

But he's had three years, not nine, and he hasn't had a major-league payroll anywhere close to what the Cubs have had.

If there are more 95-loss seasons, you can be sure there will be no more extensions.

But that doesn't mean this one was a mistake.
Category: MLB
Comments

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Since: Nov 19, 2011
Posted on: December 23, 2011 1:12 am
 

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