Pirates notebook: Huntington narrows team's offseason targets
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — Pirates general manager Neal Huntington offered clarity regarding the team's offseason targets Monday afternoon on the first day of the winter meetings.
Huntington said the Pirates likely will fill right field internally and indicated the search to add run production will likely focus on first base. The Pirates also continue to seek a veteran pitcher while waiting on A.J. Burnett to make a decision on his 2014 status, and the club is in the market for a utility middle infielder, an indication Jordy Mercer is in line to begin the season as the starting shortstop.
“We'd like to resolve the starting pitching situation whether it's A.J. (Burnett) or whether it's not,” Huntington said. “We'd like to add a bat. … (First base) is one of the sports where we believe we can help provide a little more offense. … The outfield market is very shallow, so we are leaning toward staying in-house but still open to some trades.”
While Huntington declined publicly to comment on free agents and other teams' players, free agent first baseman James Loney is thought to be high on the Pirates' wish list, and multiple reports also connected the Pirates to Marlins first baseman Logan Morrison on Monday.
Tampa Bay manager Joe Maddon did not sound confident Loney will be back with the Rays. Loney is thought to be seeking at least a three-year contract worth up to $10 million per year.
“I think he's in a position right now to probably go after the best contract he's ever going to get,” Maddon said.
Surplus to trade?
Huntington feels the club has a pitching surplus as it explores the trade market, particularly relief pitching.
“We feel like we have some reliever options at the big league level,” Huntington said. “We have some starting depth … We feel like we have some arms if we got the right return.”
Huntington again declined to outline the money he has available to spend this offseason but he did indicate the club has some financial flexibility within a relatively limited budget.
“We expect an increase. If we get the right pieces and parts it will increase,” Huntington said. “If we don't get the right pieces and parts, it won't increase as much.”
Huntington said the Pirates are unlikely to pursue free agents tendered qualifying offers, players if signed who would require the Pirates to forfeit their first-round pick. That removes the top free agent shortstop, Stephen Drew, one of the top first basemen, Kendrys Morales, the top outfielder, Shin-Soo Choo, and the top starting pitchers, Ubaldo Jimenez and Ervin Santana, from the Pirates' board.
“It would be awfully tough for us to surrender a draft pick,” Huntington said. “Because we are mortgaging our future for our present, and that's something we've talked about not wanting to do. We've talked about continuing to work to sustain this. We don't want to break it one year and we have five more losing seasons.”
Huntington on rehabbing lefty Wandy Rodriguez (elbow tendinitis): “He's in the early stages of throwing program and feeling good. He's on track for the start of spring training.”
Travis Sawchik is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter @Sawchik_Trib.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Pirates’ Alvarez continues to sit, work on throwing woes
- Pirates inquire about Red Sox LHP Lester
- Thursday’s scouting report: Pirates at Diamondbacks
- Pirates think Mercer’s defense deserves more credit
- Liriano, Pirates beat Giants, inch closer to lead in NL Central
- Pirates expect high prices in trade market
- Thinking outside box slows pace of MLB games
- Pirates notebook: Recovering Cole exceeds expectations in simulated game
- Statistically speaking: Rockies’ bullpen suffering meltdowns
- Pirates’ Worley tosses 4-hit shutout vs. Giants
- Tuesday’s scouting report: Pirates at Giants