Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review interviews Pirates president Frank Coonelly, who implies that Bucs general manager Neal Huntington is likely to receive a contract extension for the 2012 season.â†µ
"I will say what I've said for a number of years now, and nothing has changed: I expect Neal to be the GM of the Pirates for a long time," Coonelly told the Tribune-Review on Friday. "I think he's done a very solid job putting this organization together and getting our baseball operations to the type of championship level we're looking for."â†µ
The Pirates' surprisingly strong play so far this season meant that any outcome other than Huntington being extended would have come as a huge shock.â†µ
Honestly, though, the Pirates' record this year shouldn't have been a huge consideration. What Huntington was asked to do when he was hired in late 2007 - essentially, to build an organization from the ground up - was a very long-term project, and by and large, he's done a pretty good job of it. Not a perfect one - the Pirates' farm system is deep, but it lacks top prospects behind Jameson Taillon (although the potential additions of Gerrit Cole and Josh Bell from the draft will help), and as some other fans have pointed out, Huntington hasn't done a great job finding diamonds in the rough at the major-league level, despite plenty of opportunities to do so. (Garrett Jones and Evan Meek are his two biggest successes in that area.) But overall, his plan for the organization has been right on, and he has done well to stick to it despite ample pressure from fans who would have preferred he go in a different direction.