Neal Huntington spoke to 93.7 The Fan this morning. Here are some of the highlights.
-P- Huntington didn't commit one way or the other, but he made it sound very unlikely that Tyler Glasnow or Josh Bell would break camp with the team next season. Both, he said, still have things to work on -- Bell needs to improve defensively and work on getting his power to translate to games, while Glasnow needs to work on being more consistent with his mechanics. "They could have great offseasons and come in ahead of where we expect them to be, but time and again, history tells us that we're better to be patient than we are to push those guys," he says.
-P- Jung-Ho Kang's rehab has gone well so far, Huntington says, but it's too early to know for sure when he'll be ready to go. They do, however, hope he'll be back at the beginning of the season or not long after it starts, which means that they aren't strongly tying his status to whatever they decide to do with Neil Walker this offseason.
-P- Huntington won't commit to any particular direction the club might go with regard to Pedro Alvarez. The Bucs could use Alvarez and Michael Morse at first base to start next season, Huntington says, or they could find another left-handed first baseman to pair with Morse. They could also use Morse as a regular, or acquire a regular and move Morse into a bench role. Obviously, it's no surprise that Huntington won't commit to anything -- if they're not planning to keep Alvarez, it would be ridiculous for him to say so and kill any trade value Alvarez might have before the deadline to tender contracts forces Huntington's hand. He does, however, say in an answer to a later question that the first base position went worse than he expected last season.
-P- Again, this is no surprise, but Huntington expresses interest in re-signing J.A. Happ but notes that the team has other irons in the fire if Happ signs elsewhere.
-P- Huntington says he's of the belief that not every reliever can close, but that he's confident that Tony Watson could take over the closer's role and thrive if the Pirates were to deal Mark Melancon.