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Neal Huntington Radio Show Recap: Newman and more

Pittsburgh Pirates’ general manager Neal Huntington discussed Kevin Newman, future rotation plans and more on his weekly radio show. Here’s a recap of the best bits.

Pittsburgh Pirates general manager Neal Huntington makes a weekly radio hit on the team’s flagship radio station 93.7 The Fan. Some Sundays, Bucs Dugout will bring you a recapping of Huntington’s show, picking out the best tidbits from the show, hosted by Pirates announcers. Let’s get started.

All quotes are direct from Neal Huntington as told to host Joe Block:

On why Adeiny Hechavarria is playing over Kevin Newman:

A lot of it is about where we are as a team. Right now, this tough stretch since August 1st has put us further back than we would like to be, but Adeiny is a legitimate above average major league shortstop, and he has been for years. We get that Newman is the bright young prospect, the 1st round pick that has earned his way to the big league; this is why we wanted to give him this snapshot look at the Major Leagues...yes, he will get some time, but our guidance to Clint has been put the best lineup on the field to win games.

On how much the standings will dictate playing time scenarios over the season’s last six weeks:

They certainly influences how we are going to deploy playing time over the final six weeks. We don’t ever want to take for granted that we have another potential postseason. St. Louis showing us that if you get hot at the right time you can go from the tail end of the WC standings to the front line. We are one hot stretch away from right back into the wild card hunt.

On how he sees the club’s 2019 starting rotation shaking out:

We feel like we have the foundation of next year’s club, and several years into the all begins with you starting rotation...we have a strong foundation for our rotation in the future; Mitch Keller is going through some bumps at Triple-A but he is right behind that group...but then again we would love that guys take their bumps before coming up to the major league level.

On finding a diamond in the rough with Richard Rodriguez:

He was absolutely one of our targets. Not everyone of our targets turn into a Richard Rodriguez. In Rodriguez’s case, it was a nice job by our scouts who identified that his fastball, while touching 94-95, it plays up. They liked the breaking ball...they just felt that he was not given an opportunity, and the fact that he had options left was a big help. Objectively, there were things that we really like.

Quick hits:

  • Huntington intimated that the complexity of the August waiver trade deadline makes it difficult to add for the season’s final month. He did not indicate what the team’s plans were for this year’s August deadline.
  • When asked about the amount of wild pitches in MLB trending sharply upwards, Neal responded that today’s baseball is an “all or nothing game.” He pointed to the never-ending quest for many pitchers to add more spin and more bite to their pitches as a catalyst.