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07/02/09 12:55 PM ET

Huntington answers fans' questions

Pirates GM explains thinking behind deal with Nationals

Why make the move to trade away Nyjer Morgan and Sean Burnett?
-- Bill G., Johnstown, Pa.

In both Joel Hanrahan and Lastings Milledge, we acquired players with the upside to be solid to above-average Major League players.

Hanrahan had a strong season in his first year as a relief pitcher last year and has the arsenal to pitch in a late-game role in a quality Major League bullpen. Milledge, once a premier prospect, is still young enough and has the tools to develop into an above-average Major League player.

While we all like Nyjer and Sean as people and players, we traded for two players with the potential to be above-average, impact-type players on our club. We have the confidence that our staff will be able to help each of these players reach their high ceilings.

How soon until we see Milledge in Pittsburgh?
-- Wes A., Tampa, Fla.

Milledge will finish his rehabilitation assignment and then be assigned to Triple-A Indianapolis. Our hope is that he will be making an impact on our club sooner rather than later. However, like with all of our players, his performance on and off the field will dictate how quickly he gets called up.

Are you concerned with Milledge's controversial personal history?
-- Robert D., Pittsburgh

Milledge comes with some risk, but that is why we were able to acquire such a young high-ceiling player at a relatively modest acquisition cost. We did extensive due diligence on Lastings' makeup. While he certainly has made some mistakes, we are convinced, with our structure and the support of our outstanding staff, he will play Pirates baseball and be a good teammate.

Why trade an outfielder for an outfielder when we need middle infielders?
-- Josh J., Bethel Park, Pa.

Because Milledge was available. He was a premier prospect in baseball (the No. 1 prospect with Mets in 2005-06) with five tools. He has a very high ceiling. At 24 (Morgan is 29), Milledge is still young and can develop into an above-average Major League player.

Do you think Hanrahan can become a back-end-of-the-bullpen type of reliever?
-- Bobby S., Erie, Pa.

He certainly has the tools to pitch in the back end of the bullpen. He will start working with pitching coach Joe Kerrigan immediately to get himself back to where he was at the beginning of the year, when he was selected as the closer for Team USA and succeeded in that high-stress role.

Should we count on more trades happening before the Trade Deadline?
-- Fred G., Pittsburgh

We have had talks with other clubs and those will continue. We are continuing to explore every opportunity to add quality talent to the organization.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.