Pirates owner Bob Nutting spoke to reporters, including the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review’s Rob Biertempfel, Monday morning. Here’s some of what Nutting had to say.
- Nutting says he is not overly concerned at this point about potential contract extensions for GM Neal Huntington or manager Clint Hurdle, although he adds that he considers them “tremendous talents” and says he’s “very comfortable” with them. Both are signed through 2017 with team options for 2018.
- Pirates brass has previously offered praise for star outfielder Andrew McCutchen and expressed hope to keep him beyond his current contract (which runs through 2017 with a team option for 2018). Those statements of hope have been vague, however, and the Pirates’ trade talks involving McCutchen this past winter seem to indicate they aren’t planning on extending him — a decision that might be defensible given the Pirates’ apparently limited means and McCutchen’s advancing age and underwhelming 2016 season. Nutting’s comments about McCutchen today seem consistent with the Pirates’ recent approach. “I appreciate him. I could spend the rest of the morning saying nice things and wonderful anecdotes about Andrew,” Nutting says. “If there were a way to keep him, clearly it would be wonderful to see him in a Pirates uniform.” Via Stephen J. Nesbitt of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, however, Nutting added, “If we have the appropriate goal set of making the team better, doing what’s right for Pittsburgh, doing what’s right for the Pirates, then it allows you to make some tough decisions that you know are the right thing to do,” apparently in reference to McCutchen.
- Nutting says he thought the Pirates’ disappointing 78-win performance in 2016 was due to underperformance rather than to the Bucs’ perennially modest payroll. “We ended up with the season we did (in 2016) because the team and organization underperformed the level of talent that we had,” he says. “I really think it’s far more execution than what we put together.”