Notes from this afternoon's presser with Neal Huntington
Front office turnover
Former Pirates special assistant Marc DelPiano, who recently was hired by the Marlins to oversee their minor league operations, won't be the only member of the Pirates front office to receive interest and an opportunity elsewhere.
"We hope so," Huntington said, when asked about potential turnover this offseason. "It hurts to lose good people, but part of our obligation to our staff is to help them grow and to help them get bigger opportunities."
Recent reporting suggests that director of player personnel Tyrone Brooks is the latest member of the Pirates front office to receive outside interest. The Brewers are believed to have interviewed Brooks for their general manager job this weekend.
"We don't talk on record about other clubs' business," Huntington said of Brooks-Brewers reports. "[He is a] top-shelf man. If somebody were to hire him as their GM they're going to get a really talented man. If he chooses to stay here, or if he stays here, then were fortunate he choose to stay with us as well. "
The interest expressed from other organizations in the Pirates front office talent is obviously a consequence of success and it is a point of pride for Huntington.
"I am a very proud, small twig, on the John Hart tree of front office executives," Huntington said. "We want good people to get opportunities elsewhere. And the challenge is, how do we replace?"
The loss of personnel also means that some of the core philosophies and concepts of the organization will begin to seed front offices around the league. Just like any other competitive industry, ideas and systems that work are eventually copied.
"The reality is that whenever anyone goes to a different organization they take intellectual capital with them that they gained while with that prior organization," Huntington said. "There's no question that the Cleveland Indians helped me prepare for this job."
Core ideas will spread, but proprietary information better not, Huntington said firmly.
"They better not be taking our actual stuff with them, that's different. They better not be taking our programs with them."
Moreover, Huntington won't allow one organization to gut any one division within the front office.
"You do need to limit some of the number of staff that can go with someone," Huntington said. "We can't afford to be raided by a single organization. So that is where we may deny some permissions going forward."
Finally, with an offseason of change likely ahead, Huntington said that the last thing fans should worry about is him going anywhere, anytime soon.
"I plan on being here a long time," Huntington said. "I love this environment. I love the people I work with. I love the challenges that the market brings."
Asked if other organizations had already contacted him, Huntington smiled uncomfortably. "I should be the last of the fans' concerns. I have no plans to go anywhere."
The Pirates rotation plans continues to be something of a mystery. On Friday and Saturday, Hurdle gave the impression that a firm five-man rotation would be coming soon and that it would consist of five regulars. The assumption was that Jeff Locke would be the odd man out and that he would make his last start Friday in Los Angeles. However, today Hurdle said the Locke would get the September 23 start in Colorado, which would have been Charlie Morton's regularly scheduled start day. Asked if that meant Morton would be removed from the rotation, Hurdle said that was "not a fair" characterization.
Later in the afternoon, Huntington said that some adjustments could be made following the Colorado series and he gave the overall impression that the situation was fluid. Decisions will be shaped by the pennant race and pitcher workload.
"We've got some ‘to be determineds' based on where we are in relation to the Cardinals and the Cubs," Huntington said. "Where we are in relation, most important, to what we are seeing and how guys are responding between starts. ...We have six starters that we feel really good about right now and that is a good spot to be in."
Bullpen addition and rest
With a doubleheader coming Tuesday, Neal Huntington suggested that they may add an arm to the bullpen on Monday.
"We're working on that right now," he said. "And so there is a chance we could make a move before Tuesday's game."
In addition, Huntington reminded the media of the organization's firm commitment to preventing player fatigue.
"We're at the point in the year where a rested club is as important as a good club," Huntington said. "Sometimes a rested club is better than a non-rested good club. We're trying to fight that battle of keeping our guys strong and fresh while at the same time putting this club in a position to win every game going forward."
In other words, expect the Pirates to continue to liberally give players days off down the stretch.