Here is something I never thought I would say: It’s time for Buccos fans to start trusting Neal Huntington and the rest of the Pittsburgh Pirates front office.
It has been a long rebuilding job for Huntington since he took over as General Manager in 2007. When he was given a 3-year extension with the team in September of 2011, the reaction was far from popular with the people of Pittsburgh. Now, I look back to 2011 and know the Pirates would not be here without Huntington’s vision.
For the last 5-6 years, Huntington and company have been ridiculed by Pittsburgh fans. First, the complaint was that the Pirates always gave away their best players. Now, people are upset that the team hasn’t made a blockbuster acquisition at the trade deadline the past two years.
The pessimism surrounding every move Pirates front office makes or doesn’t make has got to end. It’s time for fans of this team to finally start buying into the plan and vision that Huntington and company have for this baseball club. If you look around, it’s clearly working. There hasn’t been this much baseball interest in Pittsburgh since 1992.
Huntington has put together a roster that, at multiple times this season, has had the best record in all of baseball. He has done this with a balanced combination of drafting, signing, and trading players, and he has done so extremely well. Huntington also signed the Pirates biggest star, Andrew McCutchen, to arguably the best contract in all of sports. McCutchen signed an extension with the Pirates in March of 2012 for 6 years, $51.5 million, which compared to the contracts of the few players on his same skill level, looks like chump change.
Not only do the Pirates have one of the best teams in baseball, they also have several players in the minor leagues that one day look to make a big impact at the Major League Baseball level. Guys like Jameson Taillon, Gregory Polanco, and Andrew Lambo can help this team have the type of sustained success that Pirates fans have gone without for the last 20 years.
I think it is finally time that the people of Pittsburgh and Pirates fans everywhere give Neal Huntington some respect. In one year, expectations for the Buccos have gone from hopes of just finally having an above .500 season, to now making the postseason and possibly winning the National League Central division.
Huntington and the rest of Pittsburgh’s front office have envisioned this success for years, and their work is finally paying off. I hope Pirate fans everywhere recognize the outstanding job they have done.