Pirates' Neal Huntington Tying Himself To Assistants Kyle Stark, Greg Smith

Pirates general manager Neal Huntington appears to be hitching his wagon to assistant general managers Kyle Stark and Greg Smith, the Post-Gazette reports.

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"If [owner] Bob [Nutting] or [team president] Frank [Coonelly] decide to make a change and they bring in a new general manager, that's their call," Huntington said. "I sure hope they don't because I believe in the people we're working with. I believe in what we're doing, and I believe in how we're doing it."

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Stark came under fire last week amid reports regarding his Navy SEALS training program for minor-leaguers, along with a leaked email that suggested his players should think like hippies and Hell's Angels. Those criticisms were probably mostly overblown, but the Pirates' front office should be on the hot seat here. That's especially true in the case of Smith, who was in charge of the Pirates' draft when they spent $48 million in four years and came away with not nearly enough. The Pirates did fine with top-two overall picks Pedro Alvarez, Jameson Taillon and Gerrit Cole but struggled elsewhere, despite giving out massive bonuses to dozens of young players. The Pirates' strategy of picking "projectable" high school arms largely has not worked.

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Huntington's loyalty is admirable, but we'll see if tying himself to Stark and Smith turns out to be the right idea. I'd be surprised, at this point, if all three still had jobs with the Pirates a month from now.

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For more on the Pirates, check out Bucs Dugout.

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