The Pirates are "in a great position" financially and are willing to spend money both on signing draft picks and extending current players, owner Robert Nutting tells Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. Nutting says the club has enough financial freedom to avoid making moves solely for payroll reasons.
"We are not handcuffed to where we have to make moves we don't want to make or we are unable to make moves we do want to make, purely because of financial reasons," Nutting said.
"As the players mature, we certainly believe we need to hold on to and sign some of these core players for a long term….Those are important steps that will come as we move forward."
Pittsburgh fans can be forgiven for taking a wait-and-see approach to Nutting's statements, given the team's 18-year streak of losing seasons. As MLBTR's Tim Dierkes pointed out in his review of the Pirates' offseason, however, there are signs that the Bucs are loosening the purse strings — the club spent $17.75MM on free agent contracts and also signed a few high-upside veterans to minor league deals.
Though nobody expects Pittsburgh to contend in 2011, Nutting said his team will look to add a major piece with the first pick in the amateur draft, no matter what it may take to sign the first overall selection.
"We certainly will not be in a position where we select based on dollars or signability," Nutting said. "We're going to select for the greatest impact."