July 19, 2011; Pittsburgh,PA, USA: Pittsburgh Pirates general manager Neal Huntington on the field before the game against the Cincinnati Reds at PNC Park. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USPRESSWIRE

Will the Pirates ever do what the Royals did?


Over the weekend, Kansas City Royals general manager Dayton Moore pulled the trigger on one of the biggest deals in club history, sending prospects including outfielder Wil Myers, righthander Jake Odorizzi, lefthander Mike Montgomery and third baseman Patrick Leonard to the Tampa Bay Rays for righthanders James Shields and Wade Davis.

Now you can debate whether it was a good move or bad move for the Royals and while I personally wouldn’t have dealt Myers for that return, I actually love the approach by Moore.

July 8, 2012; Kansas City, MO, USA; USA pitcher Gerrit Cole delivers a pitch during the second inning of the 2012 All Star Futures Game at Kauffman Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

When asked about the trade he simply said “We want to win.”

That got me thinking about Pittsburgh Pirates’ general manager Neal Huntington.

Wouldn’t it be nice to hear that from Huntington just once?

“We want to win this year.” Or something like: “We are going for it at the trade deadline.”

Instead we get all of the corporate sayings from Huntington, such as “We have to evaluate where we are as a baseball team.” You know all of the sayings; I’m not going to list them all but you know what I am getting at. How many times have we heard that if good baseball deal comes along that they will explore it?

Look, I know what they Pirates are trying to do, but the approach isn’t working. Sure the farm system is in much better shape and I give Huntington a ton of credit for that, but the major league product isn’t in such good shape.

Is it better than six years ago? Certainly. Is it good? Certainly not.

I give Moore a lot of credit. While I’m not a fan of the trade, I am a fan of the approach. Losing is draining on an organization. It’s nice to see a guy come out and say he wants to win and is willing to go for it.

Even hanging around first place at the trade deadline a season ago, the Pirates weren’t willing to do the same thing.

There used to be a saying around baseball that you collected prospects in order to trade them. Teams did that for years in order to compete at the major league level, which is all we are talking about here. The Altoona Curve and Indianapolis Indians can win championships every season, but it is no replacement for continuous losing at the major league level.

Now I’m not suggesting that Huntington go out and deal Gerrit Cole, Jameson Taillion, Luis Heredia, Josh Bell and others simply because the Royals did. But collecting prospects and keeping them in the minors forever does nothing to help the major league product.

The farm system has been restocked. The cupboard is no longer bare. It’s time to turn a couple of these guys into proven major league commodities.

There’s a hole at shortstop, but the Pirates are committed to Clint Barmes and his $5.5 million contract. It wouldn’t have taken a top prospect to get Cleveland’s Asdrubal Cabrera or another better fit. There are holes in the starting rotation that could be filled by dangling some decent prospects along the way, but that will never happen.

It almost seems like the plan is to bring every prospect up together and that simply won’t work and Huntington won’t be around to see it happen if 2013 is anything like the past 20 years.

After not going for it at the trade deadline last season, what happens this year if the Bucs are in a similar spot?

The answer is that they likely panic to make a move simply for the sake of making a move and they drastically overpay. That doesn’t work either.

Prospects are a crap shoot, even the highly rated ones. You simply don’t know what you are going to get. That’s why the good organizations made it a habit to ship their prospects to teams such as the Pirates for guys that could help their teams get to the playoffs.

Will Myers ever become what he is projected to be?

Who knows, but I give Moore credit for at least wanting to win. Sure he probably could have gotten a better return elsewhere, but at least he is making it known that he wants to win.

At least someone does.

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Tags: Kansas City Royals Neal Huntington Pittsburgh Pirates Wil Myers

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