The Pirates’ signing of Jung Ho Kang didn’t represent a big expenditure in terms of today’s baseball dollars but it was a pretty big deal for a historically budget-conscious Pirates team, Bill Brink of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette writes. Still, the Bucs have one of the smallest payroll in all of baseball. This year, the Pirates will have doubled their payroll in a six-year span and could still rank in the bottom third of MLB. The Pirates will continue to receive additional spending money via revenue sharing and television money from MLB’s central fund, which allocates each team with a chunk of money from the league’s national television deals. As for their own TV deal, team president Frank Coonelly called the Pirates’ local deal “competitive,” and suggested that the team will continue to be forward-thinking in terms of acquiring talent. “I think our foray into the South Korean market this offseason is an example that we can’t sit still,” Coonelly said. “We’ve got to continue to look to see where the next horizon is and be first on the next horizon if it’s feasible for us.” More from the Central divisions..
- A Twins official told Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN (Twitter links) not to put too much stock into the idea that the Twins are still after a right-handed bat. That’s something they could explore, but it probably wouldn’t come until late March. With that said, the Twins are actively scouring the free agent market and have interest in making minor league depth signings.
- There are questions abound when it comes to the Tigers, including their new-look rotation which features only two starters who were in the starting five at the beginning of the 2014 season, Chris Iott of MLive.com writes.
- As spring training approaches, Stephen J. Nesbitt of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette wonders which version of A.J. Burnett the Pirates are getting in 2015. The 38-year-old struggled mightily with the Phillies last season and he hopes to get back to the form he exhibited in Pittsburgh in the previous two years. For his part, Burnett says he’s healthy from a hernia injury that nagged him throughout the 2014 season.
- After Travis Snider was shipped to the Orioles, Nesbitt wonders who the Pirates’ fourth outfielder will be. Recently, GM Neal Huntington listed about eight names who could fill that void, including the recently-signed Corey Hart.