The Cleveland model after which Pirates' president Frank Coonelly and GM Neal Huntington plan to mold the Pirates is built not only on a sound system, but also a practice of trading players at peak value before they reach their expensive free-agent years. These deals often are unpopular, with prospects the usual return. But when they work, as happened for the Indians in the 2002 deal that sent Bartolo Colon to the Montreal Expos for Grady Sizemore, Brandon Phillips and two other players, they strengthen the franchise. Coonelly was asked if the Pirates would consider a Colon-type trade by moving a premium piece such as outfielder Jason Bay, who is due $13.25 million the next two seasons at a position where the team has growing options. "You have to remember the team in Cleveland at that time was much different than the team we have here," Coonelly said, referring to the Indians' old age and high payroll. "Having said that, I think every team, particularly in a market like Pittsburgh, has to acquire as much premier talent as possible. One way to acquire premium talent is via trades of veteran players for younger players, so that is an avenue I expect Neal will certainly consider. But that's not saying anybody's going to look to trade Jason Bay this offseason, because we're not in the position Cleveland was in." To be sure, a Bay trade has crossed Bay's mind in the past couple of days. "I expect there to be a shakeup," he said yesterday. "Simple mathematics will tell you it's not just going to be a non-roster invitee getting moved here or there. It's going to be something that makes a difference in payroll, and I certainly could fall into that category. If it happens, so be it."
September 2007 - Pittsburgh Pirates Wiretap
Pirates May Trade Jason Bay?
Pirates Name Neal Huntington GM
The Pittsburgh Pirates today officially announced that Neal Huntington has been hired as the team?s new General Manager. The anticipated announcement was made by Pirates President Frank Coonelly. ?Neal?s hiring is the result of a comprehensive search for a baseball executive who could restore the culture of success within the Pirates organization,? said Coonelly. ?Neal is extremely intelligent, analytical and driven to succeed. He shares my vision on how to transform the Pirates into an organization that can consistently compete. Equally important, Neal knows how to implement the changes, systems and philosophies required to accomplish that goal. He is absolutely the right choice to lead our baseball operations department and to build a winning organization of which all Pirate fans can be proud.? Huntington has spent 16 seasons in professional baseball. The past 10 seasons he has served as a key member of the Cleveland Indians? management team that rebuilt the Indians into a consistent winner by aggressively acquiring young talent through the draft, the international market and trades and developing that talent through a committed and focused minor league system. ?Neal is highly regarded throughout the game as both an outstanding evaluator of talent and as one of the young executives who understands and utilizes the most sophisticated statistical and analytical tools,? said Coonelly. ?Neal comes from a strong baseball operations department in a winning organization that has built the culture of success similar to the one that we intend to build. His strong leadership skills, character, intelligence, commitment and broad experience convinced me that Neal is the right person to build and lead an outstanding baseball operations staff and to implement the systems necessary to succeed.?
Pirates Deny They've Hired Huntington As GM
The Pirates denied Friday they've chosen Indians special assistant Neal Huntington as their next GM, saying their search is ongoing. Pirates president Frank Coonelly, on the job slightly more than a week, issued a statement that the club has not made a hiring he called the most important the club has made in years.
Bay Won't Need Surgery
Jason Bay will not spend his winter in rehabilitation, as he did last year. Doctors confirmed yesterday that the Pirates' left fielder has nothing more than tendinitis in the patella tendon of his right knee, matching their original diagnosis with an MRI taken at Allegheny General Hospital. There was no structural damage, nothing that will require anything more than rest to heal. He was cleared yesterday to pinch-hit after a seamless batting practice, but it likely will be another day or two until he rejoins the lineup. "It's basically a matter of just getting it to relax a little," Bay said. "And that's a big relief compared to last year."
Pirates Fire GM Littlefield
The Pittsburgh Pirates today announced that General Manager Dave Littlefield has been relieved of his duties effective immediately. Pirates Senior Director of Player Development Brian Graham will serve as interim General Manager until a permanent replacement is found. Pirates Chairman of the Board, Bob Nutting, announced his decision today after a thorough review of the organization since taking control of the organization in January. ?After eight months of listening and analyzing the situation, it has become clear that this decision was necessary to move our organization forward,? said Nutting. ?While there are many bright spots for us to build from, I am not satisfied with the overall performance and progress that has been made. I?m committed to building a successful organization and this is an important step in that process.?