Right now, the PIttsburgh Pirates are in fourth place in the NL Central, 66-79 and 18 games out of first. However, just a month and a half ago they were battling for the top position, looking like a possible home stretch Cinderella. And even though the team has struggled ever since, there have been enough positives that general manager Neal Huntington earned himself a contract extension:
Pirates general manager Neal Huntington was given a three-year contract extension through the 2014 season on Sunday following a season for improvement for the chronically losing franchise.
The deal, announced Sunday, includes a team option for 2015.
Huntington was originally hired from the Cleveland Indians in September 2007, replacing Dave Littlefield and Brian Graham. His task was to rebuild a broken organization from the ground up, and even though the Pirates finished in last place for each of Huntington's first three years, there has been plenty of improvement throughout the system. Said Pirates chairman Bob Nutting:
"While there is still much work to be done, Neal and his staff have done an exceptional job of overhauling the scouting and development systems while building a strong foundation by aggressively acquiring talent through all possible avenues."
Under Huntington, the Pirates have added players like Jose Tabata, Gerrit Cole, Jameson Taillon, Tony Sanchez, Pedro Alvarez, Stetson Allie, James McDonald, Joel Hanrahan, and Jeff Karstens. Neil Walker and Andrew McCutchen have also blossomed into quality everyday players, and the major league roster is starting to show the fruits of Huntington's labor. He is not a perfect GM, and his is not a perfect front office, but keeping him around is the right and obvious call, and the Pirates should continue to rise.