The July 31st 4pm MLB non-waiver trade deadline came and went without the Pittsburgh Pirates making any moves. The Pirates were rumored to be involved in discussions for nearly every major top of the rotation pitcher that was on the market. At various points this week the Pirates were considered front runners to land Jon Lester and David Price. In the end they were trumped by Oakland and Detroit. Not only did GM Neal Huntington fail to land an ace, but he also neglected to add any bullpen or bench help. The surprising thing is no major prospects were dealt today. For whatever reason the deadline sellers held out for young proven major league talent instead of prospects. When you look at some of the deals individually you can see why the Pirates might have had trouble matching up. But that doesn’t mean Huntington should be let off the hook for his inaction today. The Pirates are two games out of first place in the NL Central. They are a half game back in the Wild Card standings. There are essentially 6 teams fighting for 5 playoffs spots, and most of those teams look very beatable right now. The Pirates had a golden opportunity. I almost consider it negligence to not bolster this team for the stretch run. I think Huntington is a good general manager, but I’m bothered by his lack of creativity and cojones to make bold moves. Obviously the climate for making trades at this deadline was unexpected. The Pirates are prospect rich. Usually that is gold at this time of year. Today that wasn’t the case. A little more imagination was required. Just because deals weren’t made doesn’t mean there weren’t deals to be made. Huntington didn’t have the guts to pull the trigger, or the charisma and creativity to engineer a three team trade.
“We were engaged on a ton of fronts…stretched beyond comfort level…at end of the day we weren’t able to push any across line” – Neal Huntington
The most frustrating thing about today for Pirate fans was the lack of urgency. This has been a common theme carried over from the offseason in which the Pirates made no real upgrades. Of the 10 teams that made the playoff last season the Pirates spent the least in free agency. Of the teams in contention this season the Pirates were one of the few that stood pat. That isn’t behavior of a contender. Contenders look to add. Huntington says he wants to add but keeps coming up short.
“We wanted to add to this club. We looked at various points at which we could add to this club, and worked hard to add to the club, but in the final decision process, we felt that our best move was to stay as we were at this point” – Neal Huntington
Due to Neal Huntington’s pragmatic approach to this trade deadline the Pirates will continue on as they were with Michael Martinez and Brent Morel still inexplicably holding roster spots. Clint Hurdle will continue to summon Ernesto Frieri from the bullpen. And the team is still an ace short of being true contenders. For these reasons I have the trade deadline blues.