Pittsburgh Pirates’ Neal Huntington Needs To Wake Up

Brandon Inge

Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

Hey, Neal Huntington, wake up dude. You realize you’re the general manager of a team that is in a pennant race, right? You do know that teams that wish to compete should strive to have the best possible 25 players on their roster I hope. Look, I am a big fan of Huntington when looking at what he has done with the Pittsburgh Pirates. However, the way he has handled the bench this season has been downright awful.

Brandon Inge, Michael McKenry, Josh Harrison, Travis Snider and Gaby Sanchez. That is the current Pirates’ bench. Snider and Sanchez are acceptable for now, but Inge, McKenry and Harrison aren’t even close to legitimate MLB players. The thing that really bothers me about how bad the bench is is that there are better options in the minor leagues! I can’t think of any good reasons that Tony Sanchez and Ivan De Jesus aren’t on the 25-man roster right now.

Let’s compare McKenry’s numbers versus Tony Sanchez’s Triple-A numbers. In 107 plate appearances, McKenry has a .180/.234/.310 batting line compared to Sanchez’s .278/.358/.494 line. Defensively, McKenry can’t throw anyone out that attempts to steal second or third base. Sanchez isn’t great at throwing out runners, but he is more than capable of it.

The Inge and De Jesus comparison is possibly even worse to be honest. In 109 plate appearances, Inge has a dreadful .183/.206/.240 line and De Jesus has a .329/.386/.479 slash line at Triple-A.

I am so tired of hearing about how great of a “clubhouse guy” that Inge is. You know who else are good clubhouse guys? Andrew McCutchen, Jason Grilli, A.J. Burnett, Russell Martin, Gaby Sanchez and Neil Walker. It’s bogus. Huntington, if you are going to sit on your hands until July 31 to make a trade to upgrade this team, at least upgrade the bench by using the farm system. It’s the least you can do for this team and its fan-base.

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  • ballybunion

    Huntington is probably distracted now, contemplating deadline trades he shouldn’t make. In all fairness, the guys on the bench aren’t supposed to be full time players. The guys in the minors are playing every day, and might not be so successful coming off the bench. Also, the bench guys aren’t there just for their hitting – where they can play defensively, and how many positions, is part of the equation.

    Then there are the intangibles. Being a good clubhouse guy can mean a lot of things. Years ago, one team had a lefthanded pinch hitter who wasn’t doing anything with the bat, but he made a mean pot of chili in the clubhouse, and he knew where all the good places to eat were on the road, plus other road “attractions”. Those things can outweigh performance on the field: even bench players can have off-years, but still contribute to team chemistry.