Is Miguel Sano, Neal Huntingtons Matt Wieters?

Paul BaronnerContributor ISeptember 30, 2009

JUPITER, FL - FEBRUARY 27: Matt Wieters #15 of the Baltimore Orioles bats against the Florida Marlins during a spring training game at Roger Dean Stadium on February 27, 2009 in Jupiter, Florida. (Photo by Rob Tringali/Getty Images)

Yesterday brought some very disturbing news concerning the Pirates attempts to acquire some serious talent from South America. Miguel Angel Sano, a young man with immense talent and a seemingly limitless upside committed to sign with the Minnesota Twins.

I've followed the Pirates as they've attempted to land this prospect for what seemed an eternity. Losing out on him might not seem like a big deal, but it is.

The culture in his homeland is different. I've heard it compared to college football recruiting, where relationships are important, not money alone. For awhile the Pirates appeared to have an advantage, even being called at one point the front runner in the Sano sweepstakes.

One thing I remember reading was that the Pirates had to make a credible offer, maybe even sign him in order to be taken seriously in the future when attempting to go after other players like him. The situation seems a bit murky, so I'm not sure how this affects the Pirates standing, or how they'll be viewed in the future.

From what I've read it would appear that Neal ticked off the agent, by contacting the player instead of going through the agent. At least it wasn't about money.

Some people have said we need to emulate the Indians and Athletics.

Generally speaking that may be true, but neither team has won any World Series' recently. What that means is the Pirates have to do better than them at their own game if they are going to build and sustain a championship caliber team for any length of time.

In order for that to happen we have to do better and be smarter at this than the big market teams as well as the small market ones. We can't let teams like the Twins beat us out for top prospects.

I don't want to sound unrealistic, but they need to be almost perfect in situation like the Sano one. It's one of the few times we can jump ahead of the competition and for a lot less money than a major league free agent would cost.

They have to seize every competitive advantage they can obtain. This one slipped by them. If it was a tactical error, management must learn from it, so they can succeed next time.

It doesn't appear as though the Pirates will be able to afford to keep all the players that make it to Pittsburgh. If this is the case, they'll need as many prospects as possible to take the place of the players who do leave.

This could've been a time to improve on the Cleveland/Oakland model. In the future when looking for amateur prospects the Pirates will have to leave no stone unturned, unfortunately this time it appears the stone has rolled over on top of them.