Let's address the elephant that is no longer in the minor league room.
On Sep. 2, the Pirates fired their AA and High-A managers Michael Ryan and Wyatt Toregas. DKPittsburghSports broke the news.
On Sunday, Neal Huntington met with the media for the first time since the dismissals. Here is what he had to say about the firings:
"The challenge with moves in scouting and moves in player development is there are conversations, there are things that we see, things that we experience well behind the scenes that aren't necessarily in the public's eye. Both really good men, both good baseball men, both have a spot in an organization. In fact, Michael we would welcome the opportunity to have in a role other than manager, and in Wyatt's case, probably better for him to go elsewhere and to continue his growth and development elsewhere. But [I] appreciate all that they've done for us. Appreciate their work."
Ryan set a new record for most wins as an Altoona manager this season, but that was not a key factor in the decision.
"It just felt like, in development the most important part of the day is before the game time and after the game time. And Michael is really good from 7-10, but we felt like his best attributes, or our manager demands are different than maybe his strengths at this point and time. But again, good man, a hard worker. Will probably have a nice career in baseball. We just felt like his best fit with us was in a non-managerial role."
These will not be the only changes coming, with Huntington alluding to conversations with other people taking new roles or moving on from the Pirates. This, of course, happens every year, with Huntington saying it is an "Opportunity to bring in some new thoughts, new ideas and new energy."
The anticipated amount of turnover is not yet known.
"We like a lot of the things that we're seeing here in the recent years," Huntington said. "There's no doubt we had a couple of tough years in there that weigh down our overall external rankings, and we understand that. But what we're doing in the amateur side, how we're doing it and the people that are doing it, we believe very much in that group. On the pro side, again, we feel like we're getting quality information. We still believe there is an absolute need for scouts. There are some [teams] that seem to be going away from that, but we absolutely believe there is a balance between analytic information and good, old fashioned scouting information."
Some other notes from Huntington's talk:
• James Marvel was added to the major league roster and made his first big league start Sunday afternoon. Huntington said it would not be his last.
"As we work through some of the guys with injuries and the guys with innings thresholds, we realized and recognized that we can give him four starts between now and the end of the season. And he's done everything in his power to earn that," Huntington said.
With one start against the Cardinals in the books, Huntington said two of Marvel's other outings will come against the Cubs and Brewers, both on the road. Welcome to the show, rook.
Marvel's addition means the Pirates will use a six man rotation through the rest of the season to lessen each starter's workload. That does create some new challenges, though.
"Starters are creatures of habit. They like to pitch every fifth day," Huntington said. "Everyone will pitch on at least their sixth, and some cases on their seventh because of the off-days from here on out. We may bounce a guy or two if they are just adamant about staying on five day, or no more than six, but the six man rotation is viable as we go through the rest of the season."
• Chris Archer may or may not be part of that six man rotation this season. He is still getting treatments to get rid of the inflammation in his right shoulder.
"I'm going to keep the door open, but adjust accordingly," Huntington said.
Huntington added later that if Archer is healthy enough to pitch again, he would love him to get out on the mound.
• Gregory Polanco's season officially came to an end this week, and he will undergo PRP shots over the next month to reduce the inflammation in his right shoulder. Going based on how his rehab goes, Huntington acknowledged they will need internal back-up plans for him. There is also the possibility of bringing in external options, too.
"We don't want to write him off, but we need to see how he progresses this month, next month, as we go into the offseason with a plan in mind," Huntington said.
While another surgery is not envisioned at the moment, Huntington did not completely rule it out in the future if other treatments do not work.
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