Team president Frank Coonelly told 93.7 The Fan in Pittsburgh that the Pirates will "significantly increase" their payroll in 2011, according to Dejan Kovacevic of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. They won't double the $44MM payroll they have in 2010, but expect the Pirates to spend a significant amount.
They may boost payroll, but if the Pirates were on Cliff Lee's list of possible 2011 teams, he can probably cross them off. The Pirates still don't plan to build through major free agent acquisitions, according to Kovacevic.
"We're not going to add a No. 1 starter in free agency," GM Neal Huntington said. "We're not going to add a true, major-league power bat in free agency."
Huntington has other ideas and if this week is any indication, the Pirates are putting them in place. The Pirates signed Mexican pitching prospect Luis Heredia and locked up top draft picks Jameson Taillon and Stetson Allie to multi-million dollar bonuses. As Taillon explained to Chuck Finder of the Post-Gazette, "that'd be a pretty mean trio right there."
Now, the Pirates are one loss away from clinching their 18th consecutive losing season and those three right-handers aren't ready to turn the team around yet. We should expect the Pirates to be active in free agency this offseason. Earlier this summer, Coonelly told Kovacevic that he plans to be "aggressive," so the team could look to buy low on free agents, add non-tenders or make other moderate forays into the free agent market.