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Could Pirates GM Neal Huntington Be On Hot Seat?

Dejan Kovacevic writes that, after yet another late-season collapse, Pirates owner Bob Nutting is frustrated, and general manager Neal Huntington might be on the hot seat:

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It’s genuinely too early to predict such change. It’s crazy, but even after these miserable two months, the Pirates remain one winning streak away from transforming 2012 into a triumph.

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At the same time, I don’t see Nutting analyzing it like that. It’s not his style. The collapse is a symptom. He’ll seek causes.

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I believe Frank Coonelly and Clint Hurdle will be retained, though both have questions of their own to answer. Coonelly has done well on the business end, his main focus, but maybe it’s time to relinquish the baseball end ...

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Huntington, [assistant general manager Greg] Smith and [assistant general manager Kyle] Stark should face the hardest questions, based on all of the above.

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One wonders why the Pirates would hire a new general manager and now allow him or her to bring along his or her own manager. If Huntington goes, one would hope Hurdle would be in trouble too, simply because a new GM needs to have autonomy.

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Beyond that, though, Nutting would be right to look closely at Huntington's status this offseason. I'm not sure whether Huntington should be fired, but I think it's a close call. His plan -- trade veteran players and spend heavily in the draft -- has been the right one, but some of the specifics have been more problematic.

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His frequent failed signings of veteran free agents have been annoying, but some of that is due to the fact that it's just hard to get good veterans to come to Pittsburgh, particularly given the money the Pirates are offering. More problematic is the draft, which hasn't produced nearly enough after the first two picks, despite massive expenditures on the Pirates' part. That's been offset to some degree by a strong performance in Latin America, but one wonders why the Bucs promoted Smith, who had been in charge of the draft, last offseason.

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For more on the Pirates, check out Bucs Dugout.

Photographs by dizfunk used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.