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Bryan Reynolds had a rookie season to remember, but he will not be #ROYnolds.

It was revealed Monday that Reynolds finished fourth for the BBWAA National League Rookie of the Year award.

Mets first baseman Pete Alonso was a near unanimous pick for the award, finishing first in 29 ballots and second in one. Alonso led baseball with 53 home runs, breaking Aaron Judge’s rookie record. He drove in 120 runs and had 5 WAR. He received 148 points in the vote (five points for a first place vote, three for second, one for third).

Braves right-hander Mike Soroka received the other first place vote and finished second overall (82 points). Padres shortstop Fernando Tatis, Jr. finished third (26 points) after an abbreviated campaign.

Reynolds had one second place vote and six third place votes, giving him nine points.

Reynolds was promoted to the majors on Apr. 20 to replace the injured Starling Marte. He started his major league career with an 11 game hitting streak and did not slow down from there. He hit .314 with 16 home runs, 68 RBI and an .880 OPS over 546 plate appearances. He set a new Pirates rookie record with 37 doubles.

Baseball-Reference valued him at 3.9 WAR, sixth among major league rookies. Since 1950, the only Pirates rookies with more WAR in a season than Reynolds were Red Witt (4.0 in 1958) and Jung-Ho Kang (4.0 in 2015).

Also receiving votes were Cardinals starter Dakota Hudson (four points) and Nationals center fielder Victor Robles (one point).

Astros designated hitter and outfielder Yordan Alvarez was a unanimous pick for the American League Rookie of the Year.

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The website MLB Trade Rumors put out their yearly offseason free agent predictions. The site has the Pittsburgh Pirates inking two notable ones this offseason.
While the Pittsburgh Pirates continue to search for a new General Manager and manager, the offseason keeps moving. Teams are starting to put together their offseason agenda, who they would like to acquire, who they want/need to trade, and other personnel moves. Still, there is plenty of time before the action really starts.

The Pittsburgh Pirates currently have interim General Manager Kevan Graves helping make some early offseason roster decisions, most of these decisions will not have much of an impact on the Bucs offseason. Meanwhile, it has been reported that the team has an outside firm leading the search for a new General Manager. This will likely result in a hire sooner than later, which means the new hire should have plenty of time to get their offseason agenda ready.

Even though the team does not have a General Manager, this has not stopped writers, reporters, and bloggers from trying to forecast the Bucs offseason moves. Here at Rum Bunter we have posted multiple articles about catchers the team should pursue and so on.

The website MLB Trade Rumors is one of the best baseball websites around. It is a site that has been around for years and does a great job of tracking all player movement in the league as well as rumors. Over the years, MLBTR has grown into a popular website for fans to check out, especially during the offseason with their free agent predictions. The team at MLBTR tries to look at each team’s situation and determine who they could try and sign in the offseason.

MLB Trade Rumors projects the Bucs to sign two notable free agents (top 50). Obviously, the Pittsburgh Pirates are never predicted to sign one of the big fish free agents. Even with a change in the front office, the Bucs are still going to operate like a small market team. So, MLBTR is projecting the Pittsburgh Pirates to sign corner outfielder Kole Calhoun and left-handed pitcher Drew Smyly.

Both make sense as potential targets. Smyly would give the team a potential left-handed starter in a right-handed heavy rotation. He also fits the mold of the classic bounce back starter candidate that the previous regime always looked for on the market. Smyly was expected to breakout in 2018 after an impressive World Baseball Classic, but he had to undergo Tommy-John surgery early that year. He has bounced around over the last year and has yet to regain form. Still, he could be a low-risk, high reward free agent.

Calhoun’s place on the roster would not be as clear. He is a corner outfielder who bats left-handed and the team has switch hitter Bryan Reynolds in left and left-hander Gregory Polanco in right field, so there is no spot. This is unless the team does in fact trade Starling Marte, something that will likely occur. The team then could slide Reynolds to center and allow Calhoun to man a corner spot. Calhoun was solid last year, batting .232/.325/.467 with 33 home runs, 29 doubles, and one triple. Obviously, the batting average is a little low, but with his left-handed power he could be a real threat at PNC Park.

NEXT: General Manager Hiring News
This cannot be the Pittsburgh Pirates only moves this offseason. Obviously, there is a lot that has to go on and will go on, but this would be a solid start to the team’s offseason. Both players could be very intriguing fits for the team in 2020.

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The Pittsburgh Pirates had a very strong draft in 2019 with many of those prospects emerging on their Top 30 prospect lists. Checking in at number seven is their second pick from last season.
Although the Pittsburgh Pirates have let go of now former General Manager Neal Huntington, he will have somewhat of a lasting impact on the organization well down the road. This past season’s draft will mark the last one of the Huntington era. Whether it is a good thing or not remains to be seen. However, many experts are high on what Huntington brought in during the 2019 draft.

Ranking as the Pittsburgh Pirates number seven overall prospect on MLB Pipeline is outfielder Sammy Siani. The Pittsburgh Pirates used their second pick, and 37th overall, last year to take the upside prep outfielder from Philadelphia and signed him to an over-slot deal to pass on his commitment to Duke University.

Catching market starting to thin out for the Brewers

Siani is one of the most projectable players they took in last year’s draft class. He stands at 6’1” and only weighs around 190 pounds, giving him plenty of opportunity to add more muscle to his frame. Also, he will not turn 19 until the beginning of December making him one of the younger top picks in last year’s draft. As Siani continues to mature and fill into his frame he likely will turn into a solid power hitter.

After signing last year, the Pittsburgh Pirates placed Siani with their Gulf Coast affiliate. In the GCL, Siani was thrown right into the thick of things being placed at the top of the lineup for the Bucs affiliate. He saw mixed results in his début with a bit of an up and down couple months. He hit below .220 in June (only three games) and in August. However, in July he hit a solid .276 and saw his on-base percentage well over .400.

Overall, Siani finished the season with a slash line of .243/.372/.308 with no home runs. As mentioned earlier, Siani is young and still growing into his frame. Combine his attributes with the transition from high school bats to wooden bats, it makes sense why his slugging percentage was so low. As he adjusts to a wooden bat and he matures, his left-handed swing should develop some nice pop.

The part that stood out was Siani’s ability to get on base. While he only batted .243 he saw his on-base percentage be almost 130 points higher. This is mainly because of his plate discipline. Siani only struck out 41 times in 39 games, which is not outstanding, but it is still pretty solid. Meanwhile, he was able to show a great eye at the plate drawing 26 walks in those games. Hopefully, this ratio continues to stay close as he moves up in the farm system.

Siani also grades out as a plus runner. According to MLB Pipeline, Siani has a grade of 55, which for comparison is the same grade outfielder Jason Martin received. He swiped five bags in five attempts this season and showed he was capable of playing centerfield. His arm is probably his worst tool, which grades out to be average so he likely projects as a future left-fielder.

NEXT: Prospect Rewind: Ji-Hwan Bae
Sammy Siani could get an aggressive push to full-season ball in 2020. The team has typically operated this way with their high upside offensive prep picks. Obviously, things could be different once the new regime is in place. It will be interesting to see if he is able to build on his experiences from last year and continue to show his all-around skills.

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This is the first of many weekly looks into moments that great impacted the Pittsburgh Pirates.

It was an ordinary game in the middle of April that pitted the Pittsburgh Pirates against the San Francisco Giants at PNC Park. The Pirates had started the season with much promise, as the pitching staff that was expected to be the anchor of the club was performing above those very expectations. Jordan Lyles was pitching like a complete steal as the number five starter and the offense was ice cold. Nobody had really gained traction as of yet, but Josh Bell was just starting to find it. None of us had a clue just what he found, but Bell was about to catch fire.

Then it happened. Erik Gonzalez sprinting out toward centerfield tracking a pop fly off the bat of Yangervis Solarte, Starling Marte sprinted in for the ball. If you were watching, you saw it coming. People in the left field bleachers yelled ‘look out!’ Gonzalez and Marte collided and the impact was severe. Two players with speed came to a sudden stop and lie on the grass one writhing the other nearly motionless. You could hear the hit from the stands, and not the way you do at a football game where plastic and fiberglass create an echo as they collide. This was the thud and crack of actual flesh and bone.

Josh Kurelac
@JoshKurelac
Pirates made some roster moves.

Erik Gonzalez is on the 60-day injured list with a left clavicle fracture. Starling Marte is on the 10-day IL with an ab contusion.

Here’s last night’s collision that caused the injuries:

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2:55 AM – Apr 21, 2019
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The park fell silent, I mean as soon as the 18,000 strong gasps ended there wasn’t another sound until Erik Gonzalez was helped up. He walked off under his own power but visibly favoring his shoulder. Marte was carted off as a precaution, riding off to roars.

The situation looked bleak. Starling Marte had been one of the players having success at the plate to open the season and anchored the defense. Kevin Newman whom Gonzalez had beaten out for starting short stop duties was himself on the IL with a finger he banged up messing with a pitching machine of all things.

This moment would lead the Pirates to make moves that would transform the lineup for the rest of 2019 and beyond. Cole Tucker an exciting first round draft pick with an electric smile and energetic playing style and, newly acquired outfield prospect Bryan Reynolds, picked up in the Andrew McCutchen trade, were called up to fill the void. Tucker carried with him expectation and excitement, everyone expected he would cement himself and grab hold of the position. We had all prematurely written off Newman after one month of baseball. He delivered quickly too, with speed and burst, a splash of power and a smooth glove capable of dynamic range that was more than welcome playing next to Colin Moran. Less was known or expected from Mr. Reynolds, in fact he didn’t even seem all that excited about being in the Big Leagues. We’d soon come to see that quiet confidence wasn’t an act, it was just Bryan Reynolds.

Eventually Kevin Newman and Cole Tucker started splitting time as Tucker’s bat went stone cold. Kevin Newman then proceeded to tear into a five-month effort to show all of us just how wrong we were and, in the process, take a firm grasp of short stop and the leadoff position. Bryan Reynolds wasn’t supposed to play much, but he started hitting right away and never stopped. Right handed, left handed, day games, night games, cold weather….well, you get it. Reynolds finished fourth in rookie of the year voting in 2019.

Without that collision, its possible Newman never gets a chance to take hold of his position. The team showed about the same confidence level in Newman as the fans when they traded for Gonzalez to be an insurance policy. Reynolds most likely would have continued to dominate AAA pitching for the better part of 2019, and we never would have seen Cole Tucker flash the future and charisma he brings to the table.

Injury is never a positive thing, but this one instance forced the club to bring the future into the now and because of that one moment, we have two fewer questions as we enter 2020.

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CLEVELAND — One fascinating dynamic that emerged in the Pirates’ clubhouse late in the 2019 season: Players were pushing Bryan Reynolds and Kevin Newman, their two terrific rookies, to feel more comfortable in leadership roles.

And that push apparently won’t abate, no matter how much change occurs over the players’ heads.

“I think we’ve got to change the culture a little bit, and that’s always on the players, first and foremost,” Joe Musgrove, the team’s unquestioned leader, was telling me. “Sometimes, having as many young guys as we do, it’s hard to go out there and play with the confidence of a team with a ton of experience. With all the setbacks, all the injuries, all the issues we had, it allowed an opportunity for our young guys to go out and get major-league reps. The next step is taking control of the situation all around them.”

Reynolds and Newman, he meant. And in the most respectful way, I might add.

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The Pirates are in need of an upgrade at third base. Colin Moran has had two seasons to prove he’s the answer at the hot corner but the results are less than encouraging. It might be time for top prospect Ke’Bryan Hayes to be ushered in as the heir to third base for the foreseeable future.

In 2018, Moran posted a 0.7 WAR with average metrics across the board, offensively. He took a step back in 2019, posting a sub-par .315 wOBA and a much too high 23.3% K-rate. His chase rate jumped almost 10% last season, a clear indication that he was pressing at the plate.

Defensively he regressed as well. In 2018, his defensive runs saved (DRS) was a -8. Last year it dropped even further to a -13. His overall ultimate zone rating (UZR) is a dismal -15.8.

That, coupled with the fact that Moran isn’t due to hit free agency until the 2024 season (2020 is his arbitration year), perhaps he’d be better suited in more of a utility role than a starting infielder. Moran can fill in at any infield position (save for catcher) as well as a spot start in left field.

It might be time to insert top prospect and 2015 first round pick, Ke’Bryan Hayes. The Pirates are in rebuild mode so there is no pressure on Hayes to perform immediately. He’ll turn 23 prior to the start of the 2020 season and has spent the last four years progressing through the Pirates minor league system.

There is no doubt in any prospect analysts mind that Hayes is already looking like an elite defender. His defensive ratings for fielding put him as high as a 70 (in the 20-80 rating system) with a 60-grade arm. He’s quick both in the field and on the bases.

Hayes projects to be a decent hitter but there is uncertainty about his power. If that’s able to be developed, the Pirates will have themselves a true five-tool player.

Last year, Hayes accumulated 480 plate appearances for AAA Indianapolis Indians and hit .265 with 10 home runs and 53 RBIs. Hayes has a good, yet still developing, eye that has kept his K-rate below 20% throughout his minor league career.

The top available third base free agents (Anthony Rendon, Josh Donaldson, and Mike Moustakas) will likely demand a salary that wouldn’t make sense for the Pirates at this stage. Some older veterans (Asdrubal Cabrera, Todd Frazier, or Eric Sogard) might be feasible but ultimately if the team isn’t expected to compete, wouldn’t it make sense to see what the Pirates have in their younger players?

What do you think?

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Adam Frazier had a fantastic year for the Pirates. He flashed a gold glove-caliber glove and his usual steadiness at the plate. But, with the Pirates in a rebuild, it may make sense to move him to a contender.

Rumors swirl this time of the year, as surely as my wife will bust out the Christmas tree after the last Trick-or-Treater leaves with a handful of chocolate. Dominoes will start to fall as the Pirates answer the bell on hiring their new GM, but we needn’t wait for that to identify some potential Pirates’ trade scenarios.

The Pirates have some big chips to be sure, Starling Marte, Chris Archer, and Josh Bell to name a few. Each of them are options to move in an effort to rebuild a roster so that the Pirates can compete in arguably the most competitive division in baseball, the NL Central.

I’d like to touch on one such member of the roster, Adam Frazier. Frazier transitioned last season from “super utility” player to everyday second baseman, he started the season as the penned-in leadoff hitter and played gold glove-caliber defense. For much of the season Frazier didn’t look comfortable at the plate. However, for a player like Adam, that adds up to a .278 average with 10 HR and a 2.7 WAR. Those numbers don’t reflect someone who was uncomfortable with a bat in his hands.

So why am I suggesting the Pirates trade Frazier? Simple, the Pirates must trade someone of value in order to expect value in return, and with Cole Tucker waiting in the wings, a replacement with potentially minimal drop off seems plausible. Players like Frazier can be spark plugs and that intangible is worth considering, but that role too is one Mr. Tucker can amply fill.

I wouldn’t happily give up on him. I’m a believer in what he brings to the table and I still think he has sneaky power that could emerge as he becomes more comfortable putting it on display. When he really gets a hold of one his bat speed creates arguably more raw power than anyone not named Bell or Marte.

During the preseason, I opined that Frazier would be in the conversation for batting champ and I still hold that as the level his potential has the capability of taking him. His compact, quick swing is perfect for a player who thrives on contact and his frame make his strike zone measurably harder to target.

The long and short of it is, Adam is an established big-league talent with a proven track record and under team control through 2022. That is very attractive to the GMs of the world and the perfect type of player to help a club right now. A trade would return some much-needed prospect depth for the Pirates organization.

As I mentioned earlier, there are several players the Pirates could consider moving but first they must identify when the window can feasibly open and who we’ll see when we look through it. Make no mistake, trading one of the only bright spots in an otherwise bleak defensive unit doesn’t leave much to spark optimism for 2020, but the Pirates need to be thinking more along the lines of being prepared for all the chips to fall into place near the arrival of players like Quinn Priester.

The way I see it, building toward an arbitrary date is useless unless you can identify several players you believe will be there when it arrives. Quinn is ahead of schedule in many ways as my colleague pointed out in his prospect update. Without pushing him, I believe 2022 is a reasonable landing spot for his debut. This would put the window somewhere in the 2022-2024 seasons. Decisions are shaded by this window, anyone who will be here due to team control and fills the role they play in a fashion the Pirates believe will contribute stays. Anyone who won’t be here, either extend them or move them. Its not a romantic way of looking at building a baseball team, but it is practical. Its also what turns “we want to win a championship” from empty words, to a real possibility.

In all likelihood the future is not now for the Pirates but moving Frazier to a contender for Single or Double A prospect pitcher could go a long way toward ensuring the future has a chance of shining bright, maybe this time the brightest the sport has to offer.

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Following a power surge the past two seasons, former first round pick Will Craig is now knocking on the door of the MLB level
The 2018 season was a breakout season for Pittsburgh Pirates prospect Will Craig. The former first round picked hit 20 home runs while slugging .448 to go with a .200 ISO at Double-A Altoona. As a result, he made his Triple-A debut in 2019.

Craig went on to spend the entire 2019 season with the Triple-A Indianapolis Indians. While his power numbers took a bit of a hit with Indy, Craig continued to be a power threat. Now, he is knocking on the door of the MLB level.

Catching market starting to thin out for the Brewers

With the Indians, Craig slashed .249/.326/.435 in 2019. His ISO was .186, he posted a .329 wOBA, he smashed a career high 23 home runs, and his extra base hit rate was 9.3%. However, his wRC+ was below league average at 92 and his 26.3% strikeout rate was a concern and a career high.

The Pirates selected Craig in the first round of the 2016 draft out of Wake Forrest. Craig began his professional career as a third baseman, before most playing first base the past three seasons. However, in 2019, he also started to learn to play left and right field in an effort to improve his value and positional flexibility.

While he was playing new positions, Craig grew leaps and bounds defensively at first base in 2019. He went from what looked like a future DH to being a plus a defender. Craig flashed soft hands, a strong arm and a great glove at first base this past season.

To be honest, it was a bit of surprise that Craig did not earn a September call up this past season. Especially with Josh Bell battling injuries that caused him to miss the last two weeks of the season.

NEXT: Potential Breakout Prospects For 2020
When the 2020 season begins Craig will likely be back at the Triple-A level. That said, it would not be a complete shocker to see him open the 2020 season with the Pirates as a bench bat. Regardless, Craig, barring injury or something else unforeseen, will make his MLB debut at some point during the 2020 season.

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The Pittsburgh Pirates have some house keeping to take care of before the offseason gets underway. However, the market is already beginning to take shape.
One of the biggest needs, if not the biggest need, for the Pittsburgh Pirates this offseason is to find a productive catcher. The team went from having one of the best catching situations in baseball back in 2018 to see the position completely regress this past year.

The team saw Francisco Cervelli suffer another injury plagued season which led him to be cut by the team. Then catcher Elias Diaz, who somewhat broke out in 2018, took a complete step backwards. He saw his power drop off completely and looked very bad behind the plate. Jacob Stallings did turn some heads during the second half of the season, and should be viewed as the only secure catcher on the roster for next season. Nothing against Stallings, but he was out on waivers last season. This is very telling of how much went wrong with the team’s catcher’s in 2019.

Last month we did an article breaking down some of the catchers that would be on the free agent market. After this weekends option deadline, a new and very intriguing name became available. The Washington Nationals declined their $9 million option on veteran catcher Yan Gomes.

Gomes is a veteran catcher who has established himself as a good all around catcher in his career. Many likely remember him when he was with the Cleveland Indians, where he spent six seasons. He actually started in the Toronto Blue Jays organization and debuted for them back in 2012. The Jays traded the Brazilian native, along with Mikes Aviles, to the Cleveland Indians for pitcher Esmil Rogers.

Gomes put together a solid career with the Indians, showing a decent offensive skill set along with a strong defensive profile. Gomes is a career .245 hitter with an average of 14 home runs hit over his last five seasons. This is not a great offensive profile, but it is definitely more productive than what Elias Diaz provided last year. Furthermore, Gomes owns a career .175 ISO, showing that when he does hit, he hits for some power.

Where Gomes’ real value lies is his work behind the plate. In his career Gomes has averaged out to be a plus pitch framer, although saw himself around league average last year at -0.3 framing runs. With that being said, Elias Diaz rated as one of the worst pitch framers in baseball at -13.1 runs. Gomes also rated very well in terms of defensive runs saved, putting up five for the season. Once again, Diaz posted -23, one of the worst in baseball.

Jacob Stallings meanwhile posted strong numbers behind the dish, with six framing runs and 13 defensive runs saved. The question about Stallings has always been if he could be an everyday player.

If the Pittsburgh Pirates are able to bring Yan Gomes in and pair him with Stallings, the Bucs could get back to having a strong tandem behind the plate. Furthermore, Gomes’ veteran experience could help mold Jacob Stallings into an even better catcher, but also help develop some of the young arms in the system.

Gomes is coming off a down year and while he did hit 12 home runs, he posted one of the worst batting averages of his career. Still, he is a big defensive upgrade over Elias Diaz, who looked lost behind the plate at times this season. Gomes should fit into the Bucs financial range on a short-term bounce back contract. Gomes is just one season removed from an all-star game and a WAR over 2.0, so he definitely would be a worthy gamble.

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Neal Huntington’s mistakes have been talked about at length over the last couple weeks. Let’s spend some time to review some of his best trades as Pirates’ GM.

Neal Huntington’s tenure as General Manager of the Pittsburgh Pirates is over. In the weeks leading up to his firing, Huntington’s many head-scratching moves were thoroughly discussed. Now that he is gone, I thought it would be fun to do something different – to highlight the ten best (not worst) trades of Neal Huntington’s time in Pittsburgh.

Believe it or not, he had some pretty big wins. The losses outweighed the wins, but he had some.

I must say, researching this brought up some old wounds. Remember Jose Bautista for a PTBNL (Robinzon Diaz)? Yeesh.

These are in descending order and span almost the entirety of Huntington’s twelve-year tenure. Enjoy.

#10 – Buddy Borden to the Rays for Sean Rodriguez

At the time he was traded in 2014, Buddy Borden was a 22-year old pitcher with some promise. He never was as good as he was in 2014 – only making it as far as AA. He spent his last season, 2017, back with the Pirates organization in Altoona.

Sean Rodriguez was mister utility for the Pirates during their last playoff run in 2015. He played six different positions on the field – all except pitcher, catcher, and center field.

He also added something at the plate. His best season for the Pirates was 2016 when he hit .270 with 18 home runs and 56 RBIs.

Aside from his contributions on the field, Rodriguez was a well-liked and respected member of the clubhouse.

#9 – Travis Snider to the Orioles for Stephen Tarpley and Steven Brault

At one point, Travis Snider was thought of as a high potential outfielder with some pop in his bat. That potential never materialized for Snider and the Pirates were able to unload him while there was still a feeling that it would.

Stephen Tarpley never made an impact for Pittsburgh, but he was a key piece of the trade that brought Ivan Nova to the Pirates. So, they were able to salvage some value from him.

Brault has stuck around with the Pirates and has had some ups and downs. There’s some potential in him. It will be interesting to see if his development accelerates with a new pitching coach.

Even if Brault doesn’t become anything more than a middle reliever, they essentially got him and Tarpley (and Nova) for nothing.

#8 – Joel Hanrahan and Brock Holt to the Red Sox for Ivan DeJesus, Mark Melancon, Stolmy Pimentel, and Jerry Sands

Joel Hanrahan was the key piece of this trade, but he never was the closer for Boston that he was for the Pirates.

This trade ended up being Brock Holt for Mark Melancon. Melancon, as you know, was a stopper in the bullpen for four years. During his time with the Pirates, Melancon had a WHIP under one (0.926), and an ERA under two (1.80). So giving up Hanrahan for Melancon was a net positive to the bullpen.

This trade would be higher on the list if it were not for the fact that Brock Holt has carved out a pretty good career for himself in Boston as utility player.

#7 – Richard Mitchell to the Marlins for Trevor Williams

Trevor Williams, like much of the rest of the team, regressed quite a bit in 2019. At the end of 2018, the Pirates were feeling pretty good about Williams after he posted a 3.11 ERA and a 1.178 WHIP.

Those numbers looked much worse in 2019 (5.38 ERA, 1.414 WHIP), but Williams’ 2018 gives me hope that he can be a middle of the rotation type guy.

The fact that they essentially got Williams for free helps. Richard Mitchell never made it out of the rookie league.

#6 – Exicardo Cayones and Diego Moreno to the Yankees for A.J. Burnett

At the time, this looked like a trade for a washed-up former star, but A.J. Burnett became a Pittsburgh hero in just three years with the team.

He won 16 games with the Pirates in 2012, but perhaps his biggest contribution was as a player/coach for the young Pittsburgh pitching staff.

Like Trevor Williams, Burnett was received for free as neither of the two players sent to the Yankees contributed at the major league level.

#5 – Nate McClouth to the Braves for Gorkys Hernandez, Jeff Locke, and Charlie Morton

This trade would probably be higher if you take into account contributions made by received players for other teams. Charlie Morton is the headliner on this trade, but he didn’t become the player the Pirates hoped he would be in Pittsburgh (rather in Tampa).

Nate Mclouth looked like a star in 2008 with the Pirates – earning an all-star appearance and a Gold Glove. He quickly tailed off and was traded away to the Braves who hoped he just needed a change of scenery. That wasn’t the case as he never returned to anything close to that 2008 form.

While Morton never reached the heights that he has in Tampa while a Pirate, he had some successful years in Pittsburgh. The same goes for Jeff Locke.

#4 – Justin Wilson to the Yankees for Francisco Cervelli

Justin Wilson was up and down with the Pirates during his three years in Pittsburgh. He was lights out in 2013, but struggled in 2014 before getting traded. That up-and-down pattern has followed him the rest of his career – with the downs becoming more and more frequent.

Francisco Cervelli was the Pirate backstop and fan favorite for five years. He was a key component and an energizing force of the Pirates’ 2015 playoff team.

Cervelli struggled in his final year in Pittsburgh before being granted a release.

#3 – Tom Gorzelanny and John Grabow to the Cubs for Josh Harrison, Jose Ascanio, and Kevin Hart.

Josh Harrison began his career as a utility player – often coming off the bench to make a rather large impact on games. The energy and production he brought to the Pirates required that he become an everyday player and he did in 2014. That year he earned his first all-star nod. Harrison was a fixture in the Pirate lineup for years and was obtained from the Cubs for almost nothing.

Tom Gorzelanny was the only other player involved in this transaction to have much of an impact after the trade, and that impact was underwhelming. Gorzelanny’s career numbers (4.40 ERA, 1.445 WHIP) made him rosterable, but that’s about it.

#2 – Andrew McCutchen to the Giants for Bryan Reynolds and Kyle Crick

I went back and forth on whether or not this was number one, but settled on number two because I couldn’t stomach a move to send Andrew McCutchen out of Pittsburgh as the “best” of anything – no matter how well it turned out.

McCutchen’s last year in Pittsburgh showed a sharp decline over the MVP-caliber player Pittsburgh knew and loved. When the idea of him being traded was floated, many wondered which version of McCutchen a trade suitor would get. The answer has been a lesser version of the ‘Cutch we saw even in his last season as a Pirate.

McCutchen is yet to hit better than .256 outside of Pittsburgh and has seen his numbers free-fall across the board.

On the flip side, Bryan Reynolds looks like a star. He hit .314 in his rookie year with 16 home runs and 68 RBIs.

Kyle Crick should prove to be a solid member of the bullpen as well- though he’s provided mixed results since becoming a Pirate.

#1 – Mark Melancon to the Nationals for Felipe Vazquez and Taylor Hearn

It was tough naming this the top trade of Huntington’s tenure in Pittsburgh after the arrest of Felipe Vazquez this season, but we can’t possibly fault Neal Huntington for that.

We all know what Melancon did for the Pirates, but Vazquez was even better. So, simply flipping a 31-year old closer for a better and younger one gets this trade high on the list. When you factor in Melancon’s mediocrity since leaving Pittsburgh, it makes an even bigger steal.

But the part that puts it over the top for me is the other guy in this trade – Taylor Hearn. Hearn never made an impact in the Pirates’ organization, but he was used by Neal Huntington as the key asset used to acquire Keone Kela.

So, the arrest of Vazquez notwithstanding, the Pirates traded a declining Mark Melancon for star-level eighth and ninth inning pitchers who could have anchored a bullpen for years.

So, yes, Neal Huntington did have some wins in Pittsburgh. We remember the losses because, well…they were BIG losses, but we can still acknowledge that he did some good things while we rejoice about the possibilities of how the team will be run without him.

Feel free to comment on what I got wrong. I’m sure I missed something.