Pirates won't fire Neal Huntington, Kyle Stark, Greg Smith

Jared Wickerham - Getty Images

Neal Huntington and assistant GMs Kyle Stark and Greg Smith will be back.

The Pirates will not fire Neal Huntington or assistant GMs Kyle Stark or Greg Smith, Frank Coonelly says. I could go either way on Huntington, and I'll write about him much more after the season is over. I think a lot of the criticism of Stark recently hasn't been particularly revealing, and that the (admittedly sketchy) evidence regarding the progress of prospects in the Pirates' farm system suggests there's a problem with drafting rather than a problem with development, because a lot of the Pirates' Latin American (non-drafted) prospects seem to be doing very well.

It's Smith's return that dismays me the most. Of the three, he's the one who's received the least criticism from the mainstream press, but he's the one with the sketchiest performance record, in my opinion, as the Pirates threw fairly large bonuses at just about every late-round pick in sight from 2008 to 2011 and simply don't have a lot to show for them. Robbie Grossman, who's since been traded, is currently (emphasis on currently) the most accomplished of those later-round high-school picks. Meanwhile, the entire 2009 draft, which was built around those sorts of picks, looks like a mess. It's a shame, really, and if I were Bob Nutting, I'd be upset about it, because he made a huge investment and should have gotten a lot more back from it than he did. And now, with the new rules regarding draft spending, the opportunity to do something like that again is gone.

Anyway, I'm repeating myself. But it looks like Huntington will be back, and he said last week that he would not fire Stark or Smith, so if Huntington's coming back, I suppose it's no surprise that those two will be as well.

UPDATE: Frank Coonelly's statement is here. It sounds like Clint Hurdle is safe as well.

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