Pirates “Not Handcuffed” By Finances, Says Owner

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."


84 Responses to Pirates “Not Handcuffed” By Finances, Says Owner Leave a Reply

  1. wickedkevin 4 years ago

    Hey Bud!! It’s your revenue sharing in action! I bet this is just how you envisioned it!

    • Perhaps you should look into who gets what from revenue sharing, and where it gets spent, before you flap your yapper.

  2. Karsch 4 years ago

    You know you are willing to spend money when your biggest free agent signing was Kevin Correia.

    • start_wearing_purple 4 years ago

      Hey, he’ll lead them to the promised land. Of course the promised land for the Pirates is a season over .500 ball.

      • Janssen 4 years ago

        If I was a pirates fan, I think I’d be pretty stoked about .500 ball.

  3. $1742854 4 years ago

    Lie. They’re in the same boat as the Rays, expect TB isn’t run by amateurs.

  4. I don’t think it does the Pirates any good to go trying to sign Jayson Werth or Cliff Lee just yet so I don’t mind that they aren’t throwing money at one or two free agents. If, in 3-5 years they haven’t followed through on signing that “core of players” somehow, or spending on drafting and development, that entire organization needs to be looked at. 18 years of losing seasons hasn’t gotten them enough of a “core” from the draft? Anyone on here feel like advocating for the Pirates’ efforts all these years?

  5. Mark P 4 years ago

    In Pittsburgh he is commonly referred to as “Bob” Nutting…Robert isn’t correct.

    Okay, I looked on Wikipedia and he is in there as Robert Nutting…first time I’ve heard that reference though.

    • jb226 4 years ago

      They’re hardly mutually exclusive; almost nobody who is called “Bob” is actually named “Bob.” His name is Robert, but apparently he prefers Bob.

      *shrugs* Not worth making anything over either way.

  6. The owner added, “Can I borrow a few dollars for the cab ride home?”

  7. Add a major piece in the draft, then trade him for peanuts 6 years later.

    • Todd Smith 4 years ago

      I’d hardly call Nate McLouth a major piece.

      • Nicholas Grimson 4 years ago

        I’m pretty sure McLouth isn’t the only homegrown player the pirates have traded away when they were about to become expensive.

      • j6takish 4 years ago

        The Nate McClouth trade is often used as support that the Pirates “sold high” on a guy that they traded. We now know that McClouth is a bust and trading him was a good idea. HOWEVER, at the time of the trade, given the information that was available, the Pirates were making a stupid trade. Just because it ended up working out in the end, it doesn’t make it a smart decision. The Pirates traded away young cheap talent coming off of an elite season for peanuts. Huntingon caught a lucky break

        • Todd Smith 4 years ago

          Nate McLouth had 1 good year in 2008. The first half of 2009, he started to revert back to his career norms, and became clear that 2008 was a fluke. …and not that great of a fluke year either. It was absolutely brilliant to trade him at the ONLY time he had any trade value at all.

          Do feel free to name these other players the Pirates drafted and traded for peanuts after having an elite year, though. Would love to see a name.

  8. bonestock94 4 years ago

    In my opinion they’re handcuffed by organizational ineptitude more than anything.

    • Todd Smith 4 years ago

      They most certainly were under the McClatchy and Littlefield era. Things have improved significantly since Nutting, Coonelly and Huntington stepped in. They actually started a real rebuilding process finally…no more ignoring the draft and international free agents and bringing in washed up veterans at over priced deals to try to squeak out a single .500 season.

      The Pirates have actually been spending in the draft the past three years – more than any other team in baseball. Finally starting to see these guys all come up to the majors at the same time, and locked up under team control for the next 5+ years. That will be the time to spend, when these guys get close to free agency.

      • bonestock94 4 years ago

        Were the large number of clunker draft picks a product of the last front office? Honest question.

        • Todd Smith 4 years ago

          Absolutely. In 2002, Dave Littlefield’s first draft as GM, he selected Bryan Bullington with the #1 overall pick in the draft and announced that he saw him as a future back of the rotation guy. B.J. Upton was the consensus best player available and went #2 to Tampa. 2007, Littlefield’s last draft, he selected Daniel Moskos over Matt Wieters. His best drafts were the two years he didn’t have a pick in the top 10, and didn’t have to go out of his way to select a bad player to save money.

          Since the new front office stepped in, they selected Pedro Alvarez in their first draft, giving him the highest bonus in Pirate history with the #2 pick, and picked Jameson Taillon and gave him the 2nd highest bonus in draft history(only behind Strasburg) with the #2 pick last year.

        • Todd Smith 4 years ago

          I will also add that some of these picks that the new front office is taking may very well turn out to be busts too. There is no sure thing. The big difference for me is that they actually are targeting the best players available, negotiating with Scott Boras clients, and going well over slot in late rounds to pry players away from college commitments. These are things the previous front office would not do. It’s just the major shift in approach to the draft that has impressed me.

          The previous front office seemed to just view the draft as a big hassle…spending money on players they didn’t want and wouldn’t immediately sell tickets. Just spend the money on Sean Casey and Matt Morris instead – people recognize those names.

      • johnsilver 4 years ago

        I don’t buy into that theory about teams like the Pirates that always have a pick 1-10 in the draft spending high in the draft.. They SHOULD be spending more in the draft in a year in and out basis in the Pirated case with the amount of 1-10 picks they have had since the early 90’s and the chances of getting a quality pick in the 1st 2 rounds goes up substantially also picking that early.

        • JTT11 4 years ago

          huhh?

        • While the bulk of the money spent the past three years has gone to their top picks, they have also spent the most in the rest of the rounds after round 1, and have consistently paid above slot to get players out of college commitments, so you can’t just put the blanket statement out there that the only reason they’ve spent the most is because they’ve been the worst. On the surface, yes, but the figure spent over the past three years is also indicative of a major shift in the way the Pirates organization treats the draft, which is in the positive direction.

          • Steve_in_MA 4 years ago

            For 2009 and 2010, I fully agree. Before that, they avoided large signing bonuses like the plague. We both referenced the Moskos choice, which could not have been about assessed talent with Wieters, Bumgarner and Heyward still available on that 4th overall pick.

      • scoops42 4 years ago

        Todd Smith, you sir, are indeed my hero.

  9. I really don’t see why he is putting the position out in the media that he is going to spend “big” on the first draft pick. That just means the first draft pick can hold out for more money. A “nutter” indeed.

  10. vonhayesdays 4 years ago

    what never have been will choose them over retirement next year , this guy is full of $heet if i ever heard it and ive recorded myself and played it back

  11. Henduck 4 years ago

    Mock me all you want, but I’m drinking the Kool-Aid. Alvarez is a Boras guy, so he’ll be off to the highest bidder ASAP. But I’m optimistic about McCuthen, Tabata and Walker being around when Allie, Taillon and Herredia make the bigs. Throw in Rendon (also a Boras guy from what I hear, but free agency is farther off than Pedro) and a key free agent or two , and playoff contention isn’t so far fetched. 2013-2014 looks good. I think they’ll finally do what it takes.

    LET’S GO BUCS!!!

    • start_wearing_purple 4 years ago

      I didn’t know that kool-aid had a denial flavor. 😉

    • Deuces 4 years ago

      Glad to see the optimism at least…

    • Chuck345 4 years ago

      You would make a great motivational speaker. I mean it.

  12. Smrtbusnisman04 4 years ago

    Well then get Andrew McCutchen a long term extension already please!!

    Let’s try acquire an Ace SP to legitamize the pitching staff to.

  13. The thing is, its not the finances that are handcuffing your franchise mr. nutting, its you and the rest of your FO stupidity.

  14. Steve_in_MA 4 years ago

    UHm, you’re full of it, Nutting. Not in the sense that you are lying about having no financial constraints. But you’re lying in the sense that there are moths flying out of your wallet every time you reach back to make sure its still in your pocket. You’re a greedy hound, who hoards millions of dollars of revenue-shared money and resists every call to spend it on players. Whether from the league or the MLBPA, you shun every attempt to hold you accountable for the vast millions you’ve packed away.

    Those days are over, my friend. The large market owners aren’t going to take it anymore. If they have to pay, you will have to spend. There’s not going to be this unaccounted for gravy train anymore. You’re going to have to have a payroll upwards of $80MM, or get cut off completely. And with that requirement, I’m sure the fans will get much more enjoyment, as it should be.

    • start_wearing_purple 4 years ago

      If you’re suggesting a salary floor I think that’s just as bad as a salary cap. I don’t think revenue sharing is a bad thing, but if owners are just going to pocket it then what’s the point.

      • johnsilver 4 years ago

        Beg to disagree here. Salary floor, or team moves.. Or out the door..

        Can recall *1* time have ever agreed with ANY Steinbrenner period and was with the interview that was posted on WEEI on 2/21. This part is what I have been saying for years:

        “”At some point, if you don’t want to worry about teams in minor markets, don’t put teams in minor markets, or don’t leave teams in minor markets if they’re truly minor,” Steinbrenner said. “Socialism, communism, whatever you want to call it, is never the answer.””

        Teams are giving the Fish, Pirates, Padres etc.. money and it is being pocketed, not going to payroll. Look at how many owners have complained especially at Luria? These teams all have paltry payrolls and meager attendance in common, teams that have -0- chance of surviving without handouts from other owners, even when they win and the Fish and Padres have proven that. These and several other teams need to have a large salary floor (say 80-100m) for a couple of seasons without handouts
        from other owners and just regular even split merchandising, broadcast (national, NOT regional, another pet peeve) and if they cannot make it? A chance to move, or fold. Enough is enough of this…Exactly what Steinbrenner described…. Welfare on a grand scale for millionaires…

      • Steve_in_MA 4 years ago

        I’m suggesting a zero sum requirement. If you are accepting revenue sharing money, then none of it can be pocketed as profit. It all must be spent on payroll or other promotional expenditures that improve the market or the product. If the owners pocket it, then it just keeps the status quo in place, and these teams will remain deeply dependent on revenue sharing for ever. The goal is to lift the teams, markets and product up, not to prop up greedy owners.

    • WUID 4 years ago

      MLB has consistently supported the Pirates’ plan and their financial management, and the MLBPA has also given their approval (though it’s often described as in a “begrudging” manner). Saying that the Pirates have “shunned…every attempt to hold [them] accountable” is downright dishonest.

      Also, do you seriously think they could currently support a payroll over $80 million? Their leaked financial documents showed that they had $34.8 million in net profit over 2007-2009. If they were to have saved all of that and then blown it all in 2010, that still would have only brought their payroll to $79 million. To very roughly quantify that increase for you, at your normal rate of about $5 million/WAR, that would bring them 7 more wins to raise their record to a whopping…64-98.

      While I realize that the Pirates haven’t exactly played good baseball for a while, you have to give them credit for where they’re headed now. They’ve made significant improvements to their minor league depth under Huntington, and I think if you take a more holistic view of the game, you should get much more enjoyment watching the Pirates, Royals, Rays, and other small market teams rise and fall on the merits of the players they’ve developed themselves, rather than watching teams like the Mets win 79 games on $136 million.

      • Steve_in_MA 4 years ago

        I beg to differ with your assertion that its downright dishonest to say the Pirates have “shunned” accountability here. While I commend Neal Huntington for his work, its his boss who sets his budget. Neal is committed to winning baseball. His boss, however, is not.

        By way of example, I refer you to the comments of Kenny Williams this week. His boss (JR) has committed to payroll so much that the team may sustain a “loss.” The point here is, the Pirates have absolutely no right to show a profit, whatsoever, on the backs of other teams. They clearly are not fully reinvesting in the league product, which is the stated purpose for revenue sharing.

        As the documents leaked during the Texas bankruptcy case make clear, Nutting is pocketing (on average) just under $12MM per annum that has been begrudgingly contributed from other teams; not from his own revenue base. I support small market teams and I support revenue sharing. But this is a travesty, no matter who thinks its “ok.”

        It is rare that MLB would openly conflict with a team or owner on a financial issue. That is almost always done “in house.” Last year, the league and MLBPA openly conflicted with Florida on this issue, but only because the pocketing in Luria’s case was so grossly out of line in their minds. From outward appearance, MLB and MLBPA must think that $12MM per year is not grossly out of line. Well, I do, I’m sure others here do, and I know for certain that the big market clubs are intent on shutting down this racket. Its welfare for millionaire owners to allow them to pocket any of it.

        To quote NYY president, Randy Levine, “[t]he question that should be asked is: Where has the hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue sharing gone?”

        • WUID 4 years ago

          What evidence do you have that MLB doesn’t that indicates that Nutting is “pocketing” their profits? I hate to repeat myself, but both MLB and the MLBPA have supported the Pirates’ financial plan. They did make ~$20 million in payments to the ownership group in 2008, but those were to cover each owner’s taxes on the team for that year (which is the only time they’ve done that under Nutting; if they were a corporation, it would be required that they do that every year) and to pay off interest on a loan received from Nutting that helped straighten out their debt back in 2003.

          Both the Pirates and MLB claim that the team is reinvesting their money back into development, and no evidence has been brought forth to question that. Any decent rebuilding plan should start with internal player development, and young players are cheap. Andrew McCutchen only made $422k last year! If they were to go out and sign a bunch of free agents now to raise their payroll, when they don’t quite yet have a competitive core to build on, what would the gain be? They would be blocking upcoming players from their positions and depriving the team of cash reserves to be able to resign players as their rookie contracts expire. Would you honestly rather see the Pirates sign Suppan for $12 million/year than to allow their upcoming pitchers like Owens, Morris, Locke, etc., to have spots to compete for?

          If they don’t make an effort in good faith to resign McCutchen in the next year or two, then I think you can start making a case for your argument. But right now, the club is making the best decisions to build a club in the model of the Rays and Twins. By holding onto some cash now (which, I repeat, there is no evidence any of it has been pocketed as profit by the owners), they’ll give themselves the flexibility to start signing the core if their own profits (ticket sales, merchandise, etc.) don’t pick up prior to those contracts expiring. Assuming they have put together the beginnings of a competitive squad, they’ll see their profits increase as their performance improves, and then by that point they’ll have a self-sustaining system. But they had to field a young squad to see what they have as they resuscitated their farm system, and that inevitably is a bumpy process.

          • johnsilver 4 years ago

            See MLB team payrolls for an example. Last year Pittsburgh even managed to drop below Florida at $34.9M and in last place in the league.

        • First off, the word “profit” in this case isn’t a bad word. You do realize that, as a business, if you run your books in the negatives for successive years, unless you have a fresh infusion of capital, your business will eventually close. A negative, or, where you spend more than you make. There are plenty of examples of teams that spend 2-3 times what the Pirates might be able to STRETCH to spend in a single year, and they fail to make playoffs on a regular basis, and you’re fauling the Pirates ownership for running a business that has (by baseball standards) very low profit margins?

          Those leaked financial documents were not good for the Pirates, but by no means did they uncover any financial wrongdoing. Instead, it showed they weren’t ransacking the team for all they were worth, and that the financial situation was actually a pretty fragile one.

          All these years people were clamoring to see the financial statements of this privately held company, and then they finally get leaked and a bunch of bumpuses like yourself misread and misunderstand them, just culling the headlines that read “profit” and being led to incorrect conclusions.

          • Steve_in_MA 4 years ago

            I’m not saying profits are bad, generally. But having a $35MM warchest of “profits” when you are on welfare, is a violation of the MLB rules.

            I’m not a bumpus, a-wipe, and I’m not misreading their financials. The term “profit” here may be a misnomer, but its their own misnomer. They call it a profit, even though the Pirates are not a profitable ballclub. What it really means is that the Pirates didn’t spend all of the revenue sharing money they received. That is illegal under the revenue sharing plan. They are required to spend it ALL on baseball operations, not on owners or accumulations of funds.

            If the Pirates can’t be trusted to fully invest the revenue sharing funds, perhaps we should see how “profitable” they are without that annual infusion. Then, you’re simplistic economic analysis from above will be correct. The Pirates would have to close up shop. That would be bad for MLB and MLBPA, but preferrable to the present situation where the money is not invested as promised to develop the product.

          • The only “profits” not used for baseball purposes that were detailed in those financial documents were the payments made to team owners that covered the taxes they owned for their ownership stake in the team, which in the corporate world is an incredibly common occurence. They didn’t pocket it, they used it to pay Uncle Sam. Like just about every other individual that has an ownership stake in a company.

            Still not sure how I’m the one with the “simple economic analysis”, yet you keep repeating falsehoods. How’d those documents prove they weren’t investing it in the team again?

          • Steve_in_MA 4 years ago

            Not true Matt. I quote Jordan Kobritz of The Biz of Baseball, in an article entitled “MLB’s Revenue-Sharing System Is Broken,” dated 8/31/10:

            “During the same period, the [Pirates] paid its partners over $20 million, in part to cover the taxes on that income and also to repay a seven-year-old loan to one of its partners. Exactly how the team’s revenue-sharing receipts, and those payments, made the team more competitive is not open to debate.”

            So they used part of the diverted money to pay taxes on what they pocketed, but should have spent. Then they used the other part to retire debt to a partner. Sounds like pocketing the profit to me. Those are not “baseball related” activities.

            No matter how many times you call it “false,” it remains true. The documents clearly demonstrate that the Pirates derived a profit on baseball operations from revenue sharing money BEFORE they received dollar one from local ticket revenues. See, “Pushing for a minimum payroll threshold,” Jayson Stark, ESPN “dot” Com, 11/19/09; “PIRATES GET $40 MILLION, PLAYERS $20 MILLION,” Murray Chass, Murray Chass on Baseball (murraychass “dot” com), 9/16/09; “Don’t blame the Pirates, blame MLB’s revenue-sharing system,” Joe Sheenan, Sports Illustrated (SI “dot” Com), 8/25/10.

            I’d post the hyperlinks to these articles here, but then my post would go to moderation and end up never getting posted. I’ve had a discussion with Dr. Dierkes himself about how I can include hyperlinks to back up the facts, but there is no immediate solution that will allow me to do so. I will post the proof by mere reference, and you will have to Google it for yourself.

  15. RedSoxDynasty 4 years ago

    Perfect example of an organization not properly run. I believe they have money to spend and want to extend players and spend on the draft! Problem is the Pirates have a poor farm from poor drafting and no players worth extending so ownership is blowing smoke up Pirates fans yahoos with this false glimmer of hope! They need to blow it up at the top and get a GM and scouting team that earns their salary before they can truly rebuild!

    • Todd Smith 4 years ago

      “They need to blow it up at the top and get a GM and scouting team that earns their salary before they can truly rebuild!”

      They did. 3 years ago.

      • Nicholas Grimson 4 years ago

        And in another 3 they’ll do it all over again!

    • Steve_in_MA 4 years ago

      Depending on who you trust, its the 27th or 28th ranked farm system in the MLB. Frankly, that’s terrible.

      They went cheap on draft picks, losing Scheppers over money in 2008. In 2007, they took Moskos with the 4th overall pick, while Wieters, Bumgarner and Heyward remained on the board. I speculate that was also motivated by signing bonuses because, surely, nobody could be that bad at talent assessment.

      I do believe that Neal is doing a much better job the last two years of building an improved organization, but the problem continues to lie in the budgets he is given by his owner (Nutting). Clearly, they are not breaking open the wallet for scouting and assessment. They have begun to modestly invest in international free agents and, since 2009, in draftee signing bonuses.

      But there are millions left on the table from revenue sharing to invest, and they are not being invested in baseball operations.

      • “But there are millions left on the table from revenue sharing to invest, and they are not being invested in baseball operations. ”

        Prove it. Prove it. Prove it.

        • Steve_in_MA 4 years ago

          “MLB’s Revenue-Sharing System Is Broken,” Jordan Kobritz, The Biz of Baseball, dated 8/31/10;

          “Pushing for a minimum payroll threshold,” Jayson Stark, ESPN “dot” Com, 11/19/09;

          “PIRATES GET $40 MILLION, PLAYERS $20 MILLION,” Murray Chass, Murray Chass on Baseball (murraychass “dot” com), 9/16/09;

          “Don’t blame the Pirates, blame MLB’s revenue-sharing system,” Joe Sheenan, Sports Illustrated (SI “dot” Com), 8/25/10.

          PROVED.

        • Steve_in_MA 4 years ago

          Furthermore, “Will leaked MLB financials kill revenue sharing?” Maury Brown (of The Biz of Baseball) writing for Fangraphs “dot” Com, 8/25/10, and I quote:

          “It is these figures from the leaked documents that will rankle the likes of the Yankees and Red Sox the most as it shows that (especially in the case of the Pirates), subsidized clubs, despite losing for long stretches, are making a profit. In a sign that revenue-sharing is still needed (but, arguably, not at the levels currently seen), when subtracting Net Income from Revenue-Sharing we get the amount of “over subsidy” for the years and clubs in the leaked docs (e.g. $24,638,063 more than needed for the Pirates in 2008):

          Year Club Net Income Rev Share Difference
          2008 Pirates $14,408,249 $39,046,312 $24,638,063
          2007 Pirates $15,008,032 $30,302,652 $15,294,620

          I’ve redacted the figures for other clubs to keep the quote relevant only to our discussion of the Pirates.

          Again, PROVED.

      • goner 4 years ago

        Steve, your post is extremely ignorant.

        In early 2010, Baseball America ranked the Pirates’ minor league system 16th, and 19th this year. Considering half of their starting 8 position players were promoted from minors in the last 2 years, and their three best pitching prospects (Taillon, Allie, Heredia, all acquired in August 2010) have yet to throw a professional pitch, those rankings sound about right to me.

        Regarding your second graf, how is offering less money to a pick with a shoulder injury (Scheppers) considered “going cheap”? And Moskos was Dave Littlefield’s pick, not Huntington. Get your facts right.

  16. Whole_New_World 4 years ago

    I’m not sure how the Pirates deal with rest of the League, but every couple of years the Pirates make a really BAD trade with the Giants.

    2001: Jason Schmidt & John Vander Wal for Armando Rios & Ryan Vogelsong
    2007: Rajai Davis for Matt Morris (HUGE Salary dump for Giants)
    2009: Freddy Sanchez for Tim Alderson
    2010: Javier Lopez for John Bowker & Joe Martinez

    So, have the Pirates made some good moves with other organizations?

    • wkkortas 4 years ago

      Well, they seem to do OK trading with the Dodgers.

    • jeremiah15y 4 years ago

      Half a year each of Javier Lopez and Freddy Sanchez is so much better for the Pirates than 4 years + of control for Bowker/Alderson/Martinez…

      Sanchez can’t stay on the field anymore, and what good is a loogy to the bucs.

      I could argue that both were good trades for both sides at the time.

      2001/2007 – See Littlefield comments above.

      • Whole_New_World 4 years ago

        I’m sure the pirates make good moves too. Sometimes.

        But, dude, seriously, for your sanity, be realistic on your expectations for those three guys. Just forget about Bowker and Martinez. Bowker is AAAA and Martinez isn’t even that. Too soon to tell on Alderson, but his numbers are really, really poor in ’09 & ’10, even in high “A” ball. Not good.

        Trades usually seem good •at the time•. Hell, I’ll admit that that I was OK with the Giants trading for A.J. Pierzynski •at the time•. But with hindsight, we got killed by the Twins. Sometimes you have to admit, you got beat on a trade.

        BTW, I saw plenty of Freddy on the field during the playoffs and World Series last year.

        • Todd Smith 4 years ago

          It’s funny, because at the time – most experts thought the Alderson deal was by far the best trade Huntington had ever made. He gave up 25 games of Freddy Sanchez and got a top 50 prospect back in return. While it certainly hasn’t worked out well yet – it’s still a little too early to call it a complete failure. Alderson is still only 22 years old and can get back on track. He has still shown some flashes in the minors after the trade – just not consistently.

          • Whole_New_World 4 years ago

            Agreed on Alderson. I did say it is too soon to tell on him. And I hope he does get it back on track. His numbers just look suspect right now.

  17. DempseyK 4 years ago

    The funny thing about this post is that a team with a 35 million dollar actually has more money to spend! Amazing! No crap Bob, everyone knows there is financial flexibility. You have one of the lowest operating costs in Major League Baseball.

    And on a side note, when I have lunch today, I will not be financially restricted to the McDonald’s Dollar Menu…I have the financial flexibility to order off of the regular menu.

    Good grief Bob…

  18. Ian_Smell 4 years ago

    You know you’re real witty when you make fun of the Pirates and money.

  19. optionn 4 years ago

    Thats how these small budget teams play the system. Keep trying to win thru the draft and you’ll keep ending up with 100+ losses. NONE of these youngsters can be counted on. Go ask the Royals what having that great farm system has produced in terms of wins.

    • Todd Smith 4 years ago

      …or Tampa.

    • Steve_in_MA 4 years ago

      But at least with a great farm system built, the Royals have promoted and developed the baseball market and the baseball product. That improves the outlook for its franchise and for the whole league. There’s hope for a future where they can be more self-sustaining. That is the very purpose for which revenue sharing was agreed to back in the 90’s.

      In Pittsburgh, there’s currently no hope, because they are not investing everything they receive from revenue sharing into the baseball operation.

      • Todd Smith 4 years ago

        If you keep saying it, it won’t make it true.

        • Steve_in_MA 4 years ago

          Its true, whether I say it or not.

          • Todd Smith 4 years ago

            Based on what, exactly? Other than personal opinion and guesses. Do you have ANYTHING to back this up at all?

          • Come on Todd, look at all that money they didn’t earn. They have to be pocketing it! I mean, it’s obvious. They ran a PROFIT in 2009. That means they kept money, that means they didn’t put ANY of it back into the organization. Those leaked documents were PROOF, it’s the truth man. [/end sarcasm]

          • Steve_in_MA 4 years ago

            The fact that the Pirates showed a profit does mean that they kept money. You cannot avoid the logic that the receipts from revenue sharing exceeded the profits they are showing, nor that it also exceeded their entire organizational payroll for both 2009 and 2010. I never said they didn’t put “ANY” of it in to the organization. They violated the rules by not putting ALL of it into baseball operations.

          • Todd Smith 4 years ago

            “They violated the rules by not putting ALL of it into baseball operations.”

            I’ll ask again. What are you basing this on other than personal opinion and guesses?

          • Steve_in_MA 4 years ago

            I’m waiting for a moderator to clear the post, which has links to reputable articles substantiating the claim. We’ll have to be patient, I guess.

            As to the terms of the revenue sharing agreement, you can easily look that up for yourself. My statement that it is required under the agreement to spend all revenue sharing receipts is based upon the recap/summary of the agreement authored by Kristi Dosh of Forbes Magazine in an article entitled, “Understanding Revenue Sharing vs Competitive Balance Tax,” dated 4/7/2010.

          • No one is disputing the rules of the revenue sharing, but who’s to say that the monies received from revenue sharing weren’t invested in baseball operations, and then profits from gate receipts were what were listed as net profits in those documents.

            Why let facts get in the way when you have a trusty opinion?

          • Steve_in_MA 4 years ago

            II ask you that question: why let the facts get in the way? The documents show that for 2009 the Pirates received $40MM in local revenue sharing (the confiscatory part coming from big market teams), and $35MM from the MLB general marketing fund (national tv revenues, etc., that each team receives equally), so they had $75MM in revenue before they even sold their very first ticket. They then commenced to have a payroll of just $39.1MM for the year. That’s a profit of roughly $36MM, again, before they sold a single ticket. Knock off $16MM for player development and signing bonuses, and there you have your Pirates profit of $20MM before they’ve sold a single ticket.

            Now, show me some facts to prove me wrong, because my numbers are straight out of the leaked financial statements, of which no one denies the veracity.

          • Steve_in_MA 4 years ago

            “Will leaked MLB financials kill revenue sharing?” Maury Brown (of The Biz of Baseball) writing for Fangraphs “dot” Com, 8/25/10, and I quote:

            “It is these figures from the leaked documents that will rankle the likes of the Yankees and Red Sox the most as it shows that (especially in the case of the Pirates), subsidized clubs, despite losing for long stretches, are making a profit. In a sign that revenue-sharing is still needed (but, arguably, not at the levels currently seen), when subtracting Net Income from Revenue-Sharing we get the amount of “over subsidy” for the years and clubs in the leaked docs (e.g. $24,638,063 more than needed for the Pirates in 2008):

            Year Club Net Income Rev Share Difference
            2008 Pirates $14,408,249 $39,046,312 $24,638,063
            2007 Pirates $15,008,032 $30,302,652 $15,294,620

            I’ve redacted the figures for other clubs to keep the quote relevant only to our discussion of the Pirates.

          • “I’ve redacted the figures for other clubs”

            Ah, so we can’t see that the Yankmees & other teams profit HAND OVER FIST?

  20. The RedSox, Yankees, Braves, Angels, Giants, Dodgers, Cubs have done much more damage to this game overpaying average players than the Pireates have by not paying them.

  21. The proof is in those documents, Cocktails. The word PROFIT. Which means they kept it for themselves and didn’t put any of it back in the team. Simple, really. [/end sarcasm]

  22. Todd Smith 4 years ago

    Barry Bonds was never traded. Jason Schmidt was not drafted by the Pirates, he was one of the “peanuts” they got back in a trade. I’ll give you Aramis Ramirez. That’s one player in the past 20 years. Quite the list so far. Please continue.

  23. goner 4 years ago

    Alpo, the Pirates were forced to trade Aramis Ramirez (as per Nutting’s quote below), purely because of financial reasons. Look it up.

    now, if you want to deride former Pirates GM Dave Littlefield for getting so little in return for A-Ram, I’d heartily agree.

    “We are not handcuffed to where we have to make moves we don’t want to make… , purely because of financial reasons,” Nutting said.

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