Perrotto says new Pirate GM is Neal Huntington

From John Perrotto and the Beaver County Times:

Multiple baseball sources told The Times on Thursday night that the Pirates are leaning heavily toward hiring Neal Huntington, a special assistant to the general manager with the Cleveland Indians.
Huntington is considered one of the bright young minds in the game but there had been no inkling before Thursday that he was even under consideration to join the Pirates as a replacement for Dave Littlefield, who was fired Sept. 7 after a little more than six years as GM.

No Tony LaCava, Jack Zduriencik or Tony Bernazard. No Logan White or Mike Rizzo. I’ve never heard of Neal Huntington—have you?
Here’s a link to his profile in the Baseball America executive database: Huntington served as assistant director of scouting and player development with the Montreal Expos before taking a job with the Cleveland Indians as assistant director of minor-league operations in 1998. He was promoted to director of player development in 1999. He assumed the role of assistant general manager in 2002, and had his title tweaked ever-so-slightly to special assistant to the GM in 2005.
As was the case with many of the other GM candidates, Huntington is likely a guy who worked closely with Frank Coonelly over the years. It seems as if Coonelly’s short list was composed primarily of assistant general managers—Huntington fits that profile.
Perrotto says an official announcement is expected as the team returns home Monday.
More on Huntington will come whenever I get better at Googling: At first crack, there’s not a whole lot of information available.
EDIT, 7:30 a.m.:
There’s this from the UMass Amherst website:

For [Joe Fitzgerald], one area in which UMass Amherst excels is especially important: “The network of alumni that exists in the industry is great,” he says.
The network is considerable. For example, [assistant general manager of the Cleveland Indians Chris] Antonetti started out interning with the Montreal Expos, in the player development office, then headed by Dave Littlefield ’88G, who is now general manager of the Pittsburgh Pirates. While Antonetti was in Canada, he worked with Neal Huntington ’92G, also now in the front office in Cleveland. …

And this from Business West, again tying together Littlefield and Huntington:

Like Littlefield, Huntington played sports in college (he was a first baseman for Amherst College) and desired a career in sports. When it became clear that a pro baseball career, his lifelong dream, was beyond his reach, he set his sights on sports management. He got his start during an internship with the Expos, the poster child for small-market teams, and thus began a ladder-climbing process that has taken him to one of the top posts in Cleveland’s organization.

More links:

EDIT, 2:30 p.m.:
MVN’s Pizza Cutter (of Statistically Speaking fame) on Huntington, reprinted from the comments:

The Pirates have a good guy in Huntington. As an Indians fan, I’m sad to see him go. He is a Moneyball/Sabermetric/data based guy (this is the team that hired Keith Woolner of Baseball Prospectus), but IIRC, he was director of player development for a while in the Indians farm system. From all reports, he (talent evaluation) and Chris Antonetti (business aspects) were the triumvirate (with current GM Mark Shapiro) that re-built the Indians into what they are now. Given that Pittsburgh is looking for a developmentally based GM with experience operating in a small market, Huntington seems to be a pretty good pick.

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7 Responses to “Perrotto says new Pirate GM is Neal Huntington”

  1. slamdog Says:

    I thought the Pirates wanted someone who was a good evaluator and has a some history of being successful. This guy is another one of those moneyball guys and Coonelly isnt as smart as I thought he might be. I think his name is NEIL Huntingon the 18th from a fine family in England.

  2. slamdog Says:

    Lets ask Neil Huntington thee 18th what happened with him and that crack brass over in Cleveland why they couldnt figure out why they didnt evaluate Brandon Phillips correctly, he’s only going to be a 30/30 man and possibly the gold glove winner in the National League. Maybe it will tweak Neil Huntington thee 18th brilliant mind when he’s watching a game in Pittsburgh and Brandon Phillips will be wearing out the Buccos. Also, who said Tony Lacava was a baseball guy and where has his success been, other than traveling from club to club?

  3. Pizza Cutter Says:

    The Pirates have a good guy in Huntington. As an Indians fan, I’m sad to see him go. He is a Moneyball/Sabermetric/data based guy (this is the team that hired Keith Woolner of Baseball Prospectus), but IIRC, he was director of player development for a while in the Indians farm system. From all reports, he (talent evaluation) and Chris Antonetti (business aspects) were the triumvirate (with current GM Mark Shapiro) that re-built the Indians into what they are now. Given that Pittsburgh is looking for a developmentally based GM with experience operating in a small market, Huntington seems to be a pretty good pick.
    The Brandon Phillips move was stupid in retrospect, although Phillips was considered immature and a pain in the clubhouse and had worn out his welcome. (Don’t forget that the Indians got Grady Sizemore AND Cliff Lee in the same deal for Bartolo Colon that brought them Phillips.) Still, they traded Phillips to make room for Ramon Vazquez, who’s getting a few AB now in Texas. Worse, they traded Kevin Kouzmanoff to chase after the highly ineffective Josh Barfield to plug up that hole. But this is the same organization that right now is in contention because of Asdrubal Cabrera (trade for Eddie Perez) and Franklin Gutierrez (trade for Milton Bradley) coming up mid-season to plug holes. If you’re going to evaluate a GM’s player evaluation record (which is fair), evaluate all of it. The Indians, judging by their record, have done a pretty good job.
    If you have a visceral reaction to stat-based/Sabermetric guys, you’ll probably hate the thought of Huntington. But give him a shot.

  4. GB Baseball Says:

    NEAL Huntington is not a sabermetric or moneyball guy. He will listen to “old school” scouts, and he will review “new school” data. Bottom line, if he thinks something can help his club, he will listen with an open mind. Neal is smart and hard-working, and the Bucs would be lucky to have him.

  5. MHarr Says:

    I will take exception to branding the Indians Brandon Phillips trade as “stupid”. The Indians gave Phillips every opportunity at the major league level, but, to put it mildly, he stunk, hitting below the Mendoza line. And it was not because he wasn;t ready, he had 3-4 years in minors doing well before he was in the majors, and the Indians tried him in the majors for 4 years. Each time when he was sent down, he pouted and sulked and performed even worse for 3-4 weeks. It really appeared that he was a typical Triple A star, but out of his class in the majors. What it apparently was needed was the boot in the pants that a trade gives a young player; he got determined, worked harder in Cinci, and has succeeded.
    I’m glad he is doing well in Cinci. But to say the Indians didn’t recognize his talent or did not give him opportunity is clearly wrong. They did everything possible for him, including making him grow up by using the shock treatment of the trade.

  6. Bugs & Cranks » Neal Huntington: The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly Says:

    […] This: This comes from Business West “Like Littlefield, Huntington played sports in college (he was a first baseman for Amherst College) and desired a career in sports. When it became clear that a pro baseball career, his lifelong dream, was beyond his reach, he set his sights on sports management. He got his start during an internship with the Expos, the poster child for small-market teams, and thus began a ladder-climbing process that has taken him to one of the top posts in Cleveland’s organization.” Yeah. Any comparison to Dave Littlefield is a bad comparison. (Hat tip to: Pittsburgh Lumber Company). […]


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