Tough Decisions Coming for Pirates GM

Results this weekend will weigh big for Neal Huntington

Jeff Hathhorn
March 14, 2018 - 9:40 am
Neal Huntington

KDKA Radio

Less than two weeks until the Pirates break camp and head north the Pirates general manager Neal Huntington says this weekend will be critical. 

“We still have the ability to get pitchers stretched out, we’re still getting innings for our young position players, but we’re starting to get pinched,” as Huntington said as he’s scheduled a couple of split-squad games this weekend.  “But we’re at two weeks to go and we have to get some guys out.”

Huntington said there is one bench spot left with the competition likely between Bryce Brentz, who is out of options, Jordan Luplow, Jose Osuna and Max Moroff.

Osuna leads that group with a .320 average this Spring and was solid last Spring was well.  Brentz and Moroff each have a homer and 3 RBI, while Luplow is 3 of 22 so far in exhibition games.

“Our hope is that the players show us who’s staying,” Huntington said.  “Our hope is that the player goes out and makes this club and he eliminates any tiebreakers: the out of option status, the roster versus non-roster status.  We want players to go make us go make those decisions and make them be easy decisions.  We don’t want it to be left to tie-breakers.”

It gets a little messier with the relievers with Felipe Rivero, George Kontos and Michael Feliz as locks.  Newcomers Kyle Crick, Rule 5 pick Jordan Milbrath and lefties Josh Smoker and Kevin Siegrist.  Plus, do you keep starters Tyler Glasnow and Steven Brault in the majors as relievers or send them back down?  What if Joe Musgrove isn’t ready to return from right shoulder discomfort and make the rotation?

If you judge by the numbers, Smoker has been the most impressive, striking out 5 over 5 scoreless.  Siegrist has only thrown one inning, giving up a hit and striking out three.  Brault is 2-0 with a 2.70 ERA, Crick has given up 5 runs in over 5 innings and struck out 5, Glasnow has given up 10 runs in 8 innings with 13 strikeouts, Milbrath has allowed 8 earned, walking 7, but must be kept or released.

“We’re not going to evaluate you based on your numbers, we’re going to evaluate you based on your tools, your skills, your application of those tools and skills, the consistency of the application of those tools and skills,” Huntington said.  “And then the fit, how do you ultimately fit on this club.”

“Our job is to out of there and play to the very best of our ability and if we do that well enough we should win games and we have some work to do this Spring.”