It’s the story that won’t die . . . .
Josh Harrison, newly arrived in camp, echoed earlier comments by David Freese and Gerrit Cole about the Pirates’ culture. And those comments are getting increasingly pointed, and increasingly focused on the front office. In Harrison’s case, it’s pretty simple to summarize: He wants to play on a team that’s trying to win and he’s not seeing the signals from the Pirates’ front office that winning is their priority.
Harrison specifically mentioned having discussed the team’s direction with GM Neal Huntington and made it clear he did not emerge satisfied:
At the end of the day there wasn’t anything said or done that was like, aw man, I can breathe easy. He talked to me, said he wants to win and this or that. At the end of the day I said it’s about action, not speaking.
At this point, it’s fair to say that the players are not convinced about the owner’s and front office’s commitment to winning. Which means that management has now succeeded in alienating both the fans and the players. How long management can stay the course in an atmosphere like that is hard to say, but I’m guessing indefinitely. But it’s a recipe for dysfunction.
It wouldn’t be fair, by the way, to blame Harrison for piling on. He was inevitably going to get these questions the moment he showed up. There’ll be games pretty soon, and I’m sure everybody, including Harrison, will be glad of that.
UPDATE: Aaaaand Huntington’s response:
#Pirates Huntington: "We want to win. We have the exact same goals as (Harrison/Freese) do, which is to win a World Series. There’s no two ways about it. That’s why we’re here. We made the moves we made to put this team in position to win a World Series."— Rob Biertempfel (@RobBiertempfel) February 18, 2018
At least he’s learned not to say “compete.”