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Thread: Huntington vs Sabean

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    Default Huntington vs Sabean

    A Giants blogger looks favorably upon Opie....

    "This is sort of a comparison between Brian Sabean and Neal Huntington, and also sort of a comparison between West and East coast media. And sorta both, I guess. (tl:dr-the last paragraph is basically a cliff notes version)

    On June 14, Ron Cook, a writer for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, said Pirates GM Neal Huntington should be fired. [The Pirates owners did not take Cook's advice and Huntington received a well deserved extension, today]. Now I am an admitted Huntington fan boy. I think he clearly has the Pirates going in the right direction, and has a good plan. He usually trades for bunches of prospects (except for when teams offer up a top 5 prospect for Freddy Sanchez) and targets buy low candidates and prospects that don't have a future with their team. Now sometimes these players end up in AAA (Jeff Clement, Brandon Moss) but he is basically saying that he doesn't want to put all his eggs in one basket.

    Last offseason he made a deal that most people thought was a good move, trading reliever Jesse Chavez for 2B Aki Iwamura. This year Iwamura made 4.85 Million dollars, making him the 2nd highest paid player on the Pirates (below only Paul Maholm's 5 Million dollar salary). Iwamura did not hit as expected, posting an ugly line of .182/.292/.267 for an OPS of .558. On May 25, Huntington decided that the team could no longer afford to have Iwamura's bat in the line up, and called up Neil Walker-the teams former #1 draft pick, who had his ups and downs (he was starting his 3rd year in AAA after formerly being a top prospect) to be the teams 2B. They made Walker the 2B and Andy LaRoche the 3B. These two players may have future's with the Pirates, and Iwamura clearly didn't. Iwamura was moved to a utility role. Then on June 16 the Pirates recalled Uber-prospect Pedro Alvarez, moving Andy LaRoche to a utility role. When Alvarez was called up, Iwamura was the odd man out and was DFA'd. Huntington was clearly admitting that he was wrong about Iwamura, but he wasn't going to dwell on his mistake, he was going to bring up 2 pieces of his future infield (Walker and Alvarez).

    Now, looking at this through Orange and Black colored lenses, I noticed some immediate differences between the Pirates and the Giants management, regarding the promotion of top prospects. On May 29, the Giants recalled Buster Posey. Posey is supposed to have the same impact on the Giants that Alvarez is on the Pirates. The Pirates decided to get rid of a guy who was making 4.85 Million dollars, to pave the way for Alvarez. Meanwhile the Giants kept a guy who is making 4.5 Million (+ incentives) to push Posey out of position. Now according to WAR Bengie Molina has hindered the Giants. -0.4 WAR to this point, while Iwamura hindered the Pirates -1.1 WAR. So, if I understand the stat correctly, Molina has been about a half of a win more valuable than Iwamura. After the effects of the promotion, who will end up being more valuable? The presence of Molina seems like it will hinder the defense-with the following "normal" line up......

    I think that quote can be applied to everybody in the Giants media. Schulman & Baggs are the first names that come to mind.

    Basically I am saying Sabean refuses to acknowledge his mistakes and the media won't call him on it. Meanwhile Huntington does realize his mistakes and he works to fix them. This leads to media criticism. These cases are both extremely similar-I mean Molina and Iwamura are even making comparable money, yet one GM pushes Iwamura away, while another GM embraces Molina. And to me they point out why one GM is a top 10 GM (Huntington) and one is a bottom 5 GM (Sabean)."

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    Default Re: Huntington vs Sabean

    Meanwhile Huntington does realize his mistakes and he works to fix them. This leads to media criticism.
    Interesting article. Thanks for the posting. This was my favorite line. No one is perfect and not all signings work out. But I like the direction NH has the Bucs headed, especially with admitted financial limitations. Heck, anyone with an open checkbook can sign the Sabathia's and Holloday's of the world.

    Read an article on my least favorite team today, the CS'ing Yankees. And guess what? Criticism for their trades.

    Jury remains out for Yankees on Curtis Granderson trade
    By CHAD JENNINGS • GANNETT • June 21, 2010

    PHOENIX — Ian Kennedy won't face his old teammates this week. The Yankees will pass through Arizona without seeing first-hand what Kennedy has become.

    His numbers will have to speak for themselves.

    Traded this winter, the former Yankees first-round pick has a 3.60 ERA with more strikeouts (82) than hits allowed (81). He gave up three runs on Sunday, which was enough to drop his record to 3-5 with an ERA that is still the best in the Diamondbacks rotation by more than a run.

    And that's only part of what the Yankees gave up for Curtis Granderson.

    The early returns on the Winter Meetings blockbuster aren't good for the Yankees. Kennedy has been the top starting pitcher in Arizona, Phil Coke is 5-0 out of the Detroit bullpen and Austin Jackson is hitting .308 with 10 stolen bases as the Tigers' leadoff hitter.

    Then there's Granderson, who finished the weekend hitting .240 with six home runs, five steals and nearly a month lost to a strained groin.

    "We're excited about what we're getting," general manager Brian Cashman said when the trade became official back in December. "And distraught about what we gave up at the same time."

    When the Yankees traded for Javier Vazquez, it was to complement and strengthen an already strong starting rotation. When they signed Nick Johnson, it was a relatively low-cost attempt to fill a short-term hole at designated hitter.

    When the Yankees traded for Granderson, the short-term impact and long-term cost were significant. Granderson was expected to have an immediate and lasting impact, enough to make up for three players traded away while in their 20s, each ready to contribute right away.

    Granderson hit 30 home runs last year, a show of power that somewhat made up for his career-low .249 batting average. He was an All-Star, two years removed from a top-10 finish in MVP voting, and at 29 years old, his contact runs through 2013.

    The Yankees committed to him as an everyday player despite career splits that suggest significant problems hitting against left-handed pitchers.

    Granderson is a career .290 hitter with a .527 slugging percentage against righties, but a career .210 hitter with a .343 slugging against lefties. He singled off Johan Santana on Sunday, opened the month of June with a home run off Orioles left-hander Brian Matusz and at the end of last month had three hits in four days off lefties.

    For the season, though, Granderson is hitting just .207 with four extra-base hits against left-handers, numbers that are significantly hurting his season totals and making him look more and more like a platoon outfielder.

    But the Yankees are sticking with him, and they have little choice given the price they paid to get him.

    In a minor-league system that was thin on upper-level outfielders — hence infielder Kevin Russo getting time in left field this season — Jackson was considered the future in center field. The Yankees, though, were not impressed with his lack of power and high strikeout totals, two trends that have continued in Detroit.

    Kennedy had fallen well behind Phil Hughes and Joba Chamberlain in the Yankees pitching pecking order, and Coke had proven to be a good but hardly an irreplaceable left-handed reliever.

    All three have more or less played up to their best-case scenarios. The Yankees are waiting for Granderson to do the same.
    Doesn't even mention the Nady/Marte trade. As I said, I guess no one is perfect.

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    Default Re: Huntington vs Sabean

    As a sort of counterbalance to the above..... Dejan, after praising the minor league acquisitions of Opie offers this no-nonsense look at the situation with the major league team:

    "The Pirates made Snell's DFA the top story on the scoreboard Sports Headlines last week, which presumably means they'll now issue regular updates on Bautista's home run count.)

    Getting the arriving guys right, that takes skill. It takes strong, diligent evaluation, both scouting and statistical.

    Looking at Aki Iwamura’s range last September – and my understanding is that the Pirates saw him four times – and hoping that his knee would improve by the spring, that’s simply rolling the dice to the tune of Jesse Chavez and $4.85 million. It also takes having the right set of priorities in that evaluation. If stuff is all that matters, you will have a staff of Charlie Morton-type projects, and you will cut Jeff Karstens off your 40-man roster in December.

    In contrast to all of the above, when a team nails all aspects of the trade, it pulls off something akin to the Nady deal, which looks better by the day.

    And that leads to my broader point: Not every one of those trades could turn out like Nady. Not even the majority, probably. The best traders in history don’t have near-perfect success rates, never mind that luck. (And it does involve some luck, as Kevin Hart and Jose Ascanio might prove, unless you feel their injuries could have been forecast based on deliveries, etc.)

    But this aftermath, the one in which only one of those trades looks to have brought something significant to the Pirates – again, setting aside whatever went out – is what lingers as the dominant factor for why the current major-league team is performing as it is.

    They needed to get return, real return, not to raise a triumphant fist over the failures of some of those who left."

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    Default Re: Huntington vs Sabean

    Trades are tricky. We can look now at some of these Huntington trades and realize that some of the players in return have been busts (LaRoche, Moss, Clement), others can definitely become this soon (Morton, Hart)...

    It's why you develop your own players for success and when it comes to trades you "hope" for a Grady Sizemore type trade but realistically want at least one good player out of a trade. Asking for anything more in this current MLB market is being a little extreme.

    We have to remember 2 things when Huntington was making these trades..

    1. The Minors, especially the upper minors was very bare especially with pitching.

    2. The Market changed quickly in 2008 to a Seller's market and hasn't changed back.

    Number 2 is interesting because with Jason Bay, there was the rumored deal offering in Neal's first offseason that winter from the Indians that anyone would take right now but at the time it was the right thing to not take it. Bay was coming off a poor season. If offers are coming in for Bay based off that 2007, imagine what could happen if Bay turns it around. Bay turned it around but the market completely changed thanks to the Tampa Bay Rays and Florida Marlins having huge success in 2008 and making other teams keep their top prospects.

    By the time it came to trading Jason Bay, there wasn't much of a market. First thing you need is a team with the outfield hole and belief they can compete for the playoffs. Which is why the Pirates were left negotiating with Boston, Tampa Bay, Florida and Los Angeles that year. Tampa Bay kept taking top prospect after top prospect off their availability list and it was what it was. Would've been even worse had we kept Bay and tried to trade him last season. The market for Jason Bay decreased even more by then.

    I don't know. We should've gotten a better return for some of these trades and it's worth questioning the scouts as well since Huntington is getting and using that information he's relying on to make a decision along with his stats and analytical stuff. I also don't think it's as big of an issue as some make it out to be. Through it all we've gotten to the point where we are at the very start of the Prospect Youth movement which was going to happen. Better trades would've made things easier (like finding a way to acquire decent pitching the next couple years while the guys in the system are still developing).
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    Default Re: Huntington vs Sabean

    The Ronald Uviedo for Dana Eveland trade looks dreadful at this point.

    In essence, the Pirates gave up Uviedo and Jack Taschner for Eveland. We lost a prospect and downgraded our ML pitching staff.

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