Neal Huntington: 'You Never Feel Like You've Done Enough'

Pirates GM Neal Huntington talks market size, revenue, payroll in 2019

The Fan Morning Show
March 05, 2019 - 11:18 am
Neal Huntington

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

PITTSBURGH (93.7 The Fan)- The latest to stop by The Fan Morning Show tent in Bradenton, Fla at Pirates Spring Training was general manager Neal Huntington on Tuesday morning. 

Of course, one of the first questions asked of him was about spending in the offseason and whether he felt the organization did enough to improve the team. 

"You never feel like you've done enough. The narrative out there right now is that all 30 owners didn't spend enough," said Huntington. "That's industry-wide right now. Typically it's 29, this year it's all 30 that didn't spend enough. The collective bargaining agreement defines us as having the 28th or 29th largest market in the game."   

"The market size bucket is your revenue bucket typically, there's a few exceptions. The Cardinals have been remarkable. They have one of the smaller five, smaller 10 markets in the game yet they're always about 10 to 15 in payroll. 3 million, 3.3 million fans, 15 consecutive years will allow you to do that. That's amazing and the Cardinals deserve all the credit for putting a team on the field that their fans have poured out to see for decades."

"Typically, your market size sets your revenues and your revenue sets your payroll. We have market appropriate resources, it's up to us to get the absolute most out of that. We understand the angst, but the angst is in all 30 markets right now that their team didn't spend enough." 

That being said, Huntington feels the organization is still in a good position to add if they feel it's necessary. 

"We've had the ability to take a look at the market to see what's out there compared to what we have, what the acquisition cost would be, whether it's in trade prospects or in dollars and years," said Huntington. "We do like this group. We look around and this starting rotation we feel is probably the best core that we've put out there in our time here headed by [Jameson] Taillon and Chris Archer with Trevor Williams, one of the best pitchers in baseball in the second half."

"Joe Musgrove was actually really strong until his abdominal started to hit. He won't make an excuse for it but 15 or 16 starts with a low 3 ERA. The back end of the bullpen we feel is really strong. The position player group, most of them are on the right side of their prime and we've got a couple guys poised to have some breakout years this year. So, we like this group, we like the depth, we do have some flexibility moving forward if the right opportunity presents itself."             
Huntington also addressed Josh Bell's struggles in throwing the ball and how they feel right now about his defense at first base.    

"I think if you look back in time, there's been some really good offensive first baseman that didn't throw the baseball," Huntington said. "Jeff Bagwell went through different cycles where he was either a really good-throwing first baseman or he just didn't throw the ball. Frank Thomas rarely threw the ball. There are first baseman that don't throw the baseball."

"Here's the interesting part about it and I'm being facetious when I say this but if Josh hits well enough and he does what we believe he's going to be offensively, we'll stop talking about his defense." 

You can hear the entire interview with Pirates general manager Neal Huntington on The Fan Morning Show below.                         

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