Shortly after signing third baseman Ke’Bryan Hayes to an eight-year $70MM extension, Pirates owner Bob Nutting spoke to Jason Mackey of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette about the team’s plans moving forward. After applauding the work done by third-year GM Ben Cherington to rebuild the team’s talent pipeline, Nutting stated his belief “that we’ve rebuilt that foundation to the point that now we can really focus on the major league club.” That’s surely welcome news for Pittsburgh fans, who have sat through an arduous rebuilding process that’s included three consecutive fifth place finishes and a bottom-three payroll entering the 2022 season (per Cot’s Contracts).
Of further note, Nutting spoke of the need to look internally and pick “a few key building blocks […] to start building here in Pittsburgh.” It’s already known that the team tried to extend All-Star outfielder Bryan Reynolds prior to the 2021 season, and have since settled on an arbitration-avoiding pact with the 27-year-old earlier today. Still, with Hayes locked up through his prime years and extensions on the front office’s mind they’ll be hard-pressed to find a better building block than Reynolds. Whether further extension talks take place with Reynolds or other “building blocks”— Mackey suggests breakout reliever David Bednar as one option— remains to be seen, it’s clear the franchise is ready to pivot and secure a division title for the first time since 1992.
Some other news of note from the NL’s central division…
- We’re only a few games into the new season but the Pirates feel they may have another breakout reliever on their hands, reports Kevin Gorman of Tribune-ReviewSports. After picking up a three-inning save yesterday, the first of his career, converted-starter Wil Crowe extended his streak to seven scoreless innings to open the season. Small sample size caveats are abound here, but it’s clear that the headlining return from 2020’s Josh Bell trade has seen his stuff play up out of the bullpen. After posting a 5.48 ERA across 26 games (25 starts) with below average strikeout numbers last year, Crowe has upped his swinging strike rate and ranks among the early leaders in avoiding hard contact this season.
- The Cubs and catcher Willson Contreras remain far apart in arbitration talks and it doesn’t appear an agreement will be reached without an arbiter, per NBC Sports’ Gordon Wittenmyer. While a few months remain for both sides to settle on a midpoint between their exchanged figures— Contreras filed at $10.25MM while the Cubs put forth a $9MM offer— a tidy resolution never seemed likely between the club and one of the last members of their 2016 World Series-winning core. The Cubs are a file-and-trial club and take a hard stance on discussing arbitration salaries after the figure-exchanging deadline (this year’s deadline was March 22). When asked if the club would make an exception for Contreras, given his reputation on the team and as one of the league’s better hitting catchers, team president Jed Hoyer replied “That’s not our policy. We went past the deadline.” For his part, Contreras doesn’t seem too bothered by the prospect of an arbitration hearing, noting that he’s “been going through a lot of [criticism] since I was in the minor leagues, and everything they have to say I’ve already heard it”. The 29-year-old Contreras is set to headline a decent free agent catcher market after the season, and while he hasn’t closed the window on lengthening his Cubs tenure he did note his chances of remaining with the team may take a hit once the Cubs allow him to test the market. The two-time All-Star also drew trade interest over the offseason, which may eventually expedite the catcher’s exit from his original organization.
Love seeing what Cherington is doing, but I would have said that Eddy Yean was the headliner of the Bell swap. Nevertheless, Crowe looks like a different pitcher out of the rotation. I think they’ll eventually get a deal done w/Bryan. They were so dar apart in arbitration talks and being able to meet on a 2 year deal to avoid arbitration this year and next is a plus. Shows some good faith on the Pirates’ end. Team said they’d spend more once they got closer to competition and I think the Hayes extension was just the start.
With all due respect to A’s and Reds fans, Nutting is the worst owner in baseball. Still waiting for a noteworthy free agent signing – been waiting my whole life.
Pedro Martinez’s Mango Tree
Not terribly sure anyone is gonna try and argue with that
What free agent would want to play for him
“I got nowhere else to go!”
That was Jose quintana doing a Richard gere impersonation
Larry Brown's crank
You have to be of a certain age, to really get that joke…….and I like it!
A leopard doesn’t change its spots. We’ve heard this song and dance act by Nutting before. He has done nothing but make two routine extensions that every other franchise has made. The Nutting Family Business Model, which has been in place for over 100 years, will not change. Don’t drink the Kool Aid.
He did extend Marte Cutch Gregory tabata Liarino and offer extensions to Walker and Happ. Payroll was 110 million a few years ago
Nutting lowballed Walker, then traded two top 10 prospects to rid himself of a year of Liriano’s contract. In fact, none of the players you mentioned played out his contract with Pittsburgh. I don’t understand the Nutting apologists. I’m sure Cherington will make great strides with the prospects, then get handcuffed when it comes time to build around the nucleus he puts together.
Exactly. Hayes gets traded for prospects in year 6 of the deal if he’s any good still at that point. It’s the Pirates way.. Nutting said he would spend if the Pirates were competitive in 2011 and 2012 also. Then when they were a 1st baseman away from possible division titles, the answers were Travis Ishikawa, Gaby Sanchez, Ike Davis, John Jaso (a catcher!). Everyone saw what a difference a guy like Justin Morneau made in his short time here. Could have been the same with a real 1st baseman and not dumpster diving.
That’s not to mention they traded Neil Walker when the contention window was still open…. for “years of control” of Jon Niese. You can’t trade your second best player if you want to win just because you want SOMETHING for him. Jon Niese was actually nothing.
Apologists said “You can’t sign Russel Martin….. we have Reese McGuire coming!” and applauded letting him walk. Then as mentioned, Reese McGuire gets traded in a salary dump. SO many examples. We’ve been watching the trainwreck for like four “5-year plans” already. Reynolds will be gone by the time any of their new beloved prospects hit the majors. He’ll be traded this offseason while he still has that one year of control for the new club.
Cleveland signed Ramirez for eight years aNd $114 million guaranteed. When Nutting shows that kind of commitment then it’s time to take him seriously.
“I think what’s really important to this organization is to remember that we really have been through a lot,” Nutting said. “We saw real success in 2013, ’14 and ’15, and we lost our way in the years following that.”
I’m sure everyone that worked for the club in those years had the same response to “we lost our way in the years following that”
-We? Do you have a mouse in your pocket? That was all you.
I was watching some highlights of O’Neal cruz, and the guy is HUGE, do you guys think he’s viable in the majors? I’m not basing this off research but he looks at least 3 inches taller than judge, and he’s prob 50 lb lighter, can’t imagine him having an extensive career. What’s your opinion?
Probably not at shortstop. Don’t see why he can’t be in the outfield though
I am not worried about his size. Injuries are more about genetics, training, toughness and random luck. Doesn’t look like a ss unless he improves significantly. If he can keep his strike outs down he will play fine in the outfield or 1b.
Haha they are both 6’7” but I think Judge has easily 75-85 lbs on Cruz.
I don’t think Cruz will stick at short (I don’t think anyone does) but I have been impressed with how he fields ss now at his size. I think corner outfield is where he will end up, but if he wasn’t as big he could definitely be a plus ss
Everyone points out how tall Cruz is and that there has never been a shortstop that tall so the general assumption is that he can’t do it. Nobody mentions how athletic he is and that he truly is unique, not for playing ss at his size but because he is fast, has incredible raw power despite not being built like a brickhouse, is smooth and fluid in his movements and has a great arm. Dude can probably put up a very respectable showing in an Olympic decathlon with just a couple months of training so why can’t he play shortstop simply because he’s 6’7″?
A bulky Judge plays centerfield on occasion quite well. Anything is possible
Nutting, not holding my breath. He seems to be more available for talking these days than in years past, which I do take as a good sign. He’s saving a ton of money during this tanking as I call it, rebuild as they like to say, so a respectable 120ish mil payroll should be reasonable for us to expect. At least something close to the middle.
Crowe should have always been in the bullpen.
Something else. This team was devoid of power last year. Last place in home runs by 20. I wouldn’t be surprised if they end up with at least 1 a game. Of course the DH gives you a few more chances then last year, but that would be a significant improvement of 38 nonetheless.
Generally speaking when a starter moves to the bullpen it allows them to let their fastball rip adding a couple mph’s knowing they don’t have to worry about having to throw 60+ pitches when they’re given the ball. This is true for Crowe as well but where this really helps him is that it creates a greater velocity differentiation between his fastball and his changeup and his changeup is pretty filthy and is a legit weapon right now. Rare instance where moving to the bullpen helps him out not because his fastball plays better but because his changeup plays better.
I’m sure they’ll get better. Armed with any warn copy of Baseball America at draft time, and the OK to trade any decent player, most people on this board can make a team better in 5 years. And Ben C.’s probably more informed than most of us.
It’s NEVER a question of “getting better”; it’s ALWAYS a question of “how long”. And its corollary question, how much damage can you do to the brand before it melts away. I’ll grant that the Bucs have likely among the worst financial parameters in which to work; they don’t control much of the revenue PNC generates. As such, Nutting isn’t as culpable as owners in Detroit and Baltimore, for example. two teams that are cash cows and whose rebuilds have ALREADY taken too long. I know, I know, the Tigers are coming; it’s about flipping time. And the Orioles still MIGHT improve in this decade.
It’s really no surprise the Rockies, who fumble just about every decision they make, still pack Coors and get great TV ratings. Maybe because THEY TRY???? Why sign KB? WHY NOT? At some point, they’ll make some right decisions, and the franchise is still in excellent shape.
So the city owns the parking lots around the park. That’s the only revenue i’m aware of the Pirates don’t receive. Their financial situation is more flush than they
I’m just going on what was in “Lords of the Relm”, but I have no doubt that their situation is more flush than they claim. That’s the coin of the relm in MLB.
The Pirates get $65 Million in revenue sharing and TV deals as I understand it, and their payroll is like $38 Million. A crime that they are robbing other teams of the shared revenue. They spend basically HALF of what they get just for being a small market team. And that’s before 1 ticket is sold. So where does all the money go?
They get much more than that. Money goes to ownership and player development.
Taxes. Matching Social Security, etc.
Networks. Computers, and other media devices. Spring training facilities (much technology is invested both there and usually at the teams home park etc.)
Medical insurance and expenses for all employees.
Subsidizing the farm system and paying those players and personnel. FO personnel. All associated expenses with those 2 groups of people.
Expenses to send scouts and others around the country and the world looking for players. Paying player and coaches expenses when on the road – they stay in first class hotels and have allowances for meal money that most people posting here couldn’t afford to do more then a few nights a year.
Then there’s the franchise / team lawyers – they don’t work for $35 an hour.
National contacts are negotiated by a central group of negotiators, lawyers, and technical people gathering data in preparation – I’d guess that ‘s coordinated out of the Commissioners office, but maybe elsewhere. Nerveless I assume all franchises have to chip in to cover those costs – and again, those people fly around the country, stay in first class hotels, get commissions when deals are closed and aren’t working for anywhere near $100 an hour.
I’m sure I’ve missed a few other major costs.
That’s all true but those are also costs that all other teams have as well. It’s not unique to the Pirates.
People complain about all the other teams as well because this site convinces people like you that have no business experience whatsoever that:
Gross Revenue – Player Payroll = Money In The Owners Pocket.
And that the owner and his family just sit around and do nothing but stop buy the office to grab the bagfulls of money and stick it in their pockets.
Did you know that rule of thumb is that an employee costs a business 35% more than his/her salary? Which is why you see more businesses hiring Temps / Contractors. And that’s just the starting point.
I get that the majority of baseball fans simply look at payroll and assume that any income the team has beyond that is profit but I don’t. I’m not naive to the behind the scenes costs of running a business. Just pointing out that any time those other costs of business are brought up that every other team has those costs as well and if Nutting and the minority owners of the Pirates are unable or just barely able to cover those costs and the team was actually losing money or barely breaking even then they would sell the team considering that the going rate to buy any MLB franchise basically starts at a billion dollars and Nutting paid 92 million for the team in the mid ’90’s. That would be a huge windfall of money to someone if they were truly in a position where they were barely covering the costs associated with the business. Yet any time he publicly comments about if he would sell the team his steadfast answer is that he plans to keep the team in his family and eventually pass it on to his daughters because Bob is a smart businessman and he is making a significant return on his investments.
Manfred Rob's Earth Band
How does selling the team solve the issue of less revenue? I’m confused.
It doesn’t but there’s also no proof that there is significantly less revenue because teams dont disclose their finances. It solves the problem of Nutting supposedly not having money and crying poor. I get that any new owner would have similar financial realities with the team but it’s pretty naive to think that any billionaire would invest in a business just to break even.
Here’s what I think jimmyz…….
Since the players, their union, and their agents are crying that they’re underpaid – the players, their union, and their agents should disclose all of their finances.
There also needs to be public disclosure of how many hundreds of millions of dollars a year are paid out in salaries to players that got injured and/or radically underperformed the amount of money they were paid.
Pplayers and agents don’t receive public monies to increase the value of their property.
It will be a bummer when Contrares leaves the Cubs. Not sure who the Brewers pitchers will target to plunk. At least 20 HBP annually against ‘ole Wilson.
Cubs haven’t been going anywhere the past few seasons. Cubs ownership knew that they weren’t going to extend Contreras, they should have traded him year or 2 ago and received a great return. Just like the Cubs screwed up with trading Bryant Rizzo and Baez earlier for a great return Cubs FO makes the same mistake with Contreras.
If they were offered a great return he would have been traded. Bryant Rizzo Baez brought back a great return. Even if they traded them before the season or in 2020 the return wouldn’t have been much or any better.
Theos big mistake was centering the entire 2019-2020 offseason around trading Bryant for “Major league ready” prospects. He was hoping that move was going to reset the luxury tax and keep the Cubs window open. Instead no one bit on the Cubs asking price for KB, and they went into the 2020 season carrying two guys they shouldn’t have (Quintana and Chatwood). The Cubs should have focused on moving those two, resetting the luxury tax and attacking in 2021 vs limping into 2021, making zero improvements and having to deal with several pending free agents.
Contreras may have looked good in a White Sox uniform but we have McGuire now.
No need! Don’t need another backup catcher.
It’s early but the Cubs are playing solid baseball and Suzuki appears to be living up to the hype! The Cubs can be sneaky good this year (although I fully expect Hoyer to sell at the deadline regardless) because that line up is actually quite deep with guys who can just flat out hit. Madrigal, hoerner, Suzuki, Rivas are all really solid hitters, schwindy and happ have picked right up where they left off. Villar is as solid as they come as a super utility guy… the only places where you’re left wondering is CF and third.
I mean in terms of extensions the Cubs offered all 3 of their big free agents last year more than they got on the open market, it’s not their fault
Absolutely. If the Cubs actually offered what was reported, then Baez, Rizzo and especially Bryant, all over played their hands. But change is good. They get fresh starts and Hoyer gets to build his own team.
It’s early and teams will adjust to youngsters…..
But Roansy Contreras simply overwhelmed in 3 relief innings tonight. That young mans pitches dart in different directions as they approach the plate depending on where in the zone they’re headed.
It’s not just a matter of trading for or signing players. It’s a matter of coaching them up, both in the minors and at the ML level. Ben Cherington has been though this with both the Red Sox and Blue Jays. He’s built a great staff of coaches at all levels, bringing in John Baker to head up development.
The draft and trades have been very good, scouts are doing their job. Cherington kept Joe Dellicarri on as scouting director. He’s overseen drafts that brought in players such as Ke’Bryan Hayes, Kevin Newman, Gerrit Cole, Josh Bell, Tyler Glasnow, Austin Meadows, Shane Baz and others.
Mr. Nutting can say whatever he wants. What he must do is not interfere with what Cherington and the Baseball Ops people are doing. Something special is being built.
Unfortunately Pirate fans haven’t sat through an arduous rebuilding process. 2018 they “reloaded” then at the trade deadline the reload was over and they became buyers. Although they didn’t contend in 2018 2019 they certainly weren’t rebuilding. 2020 had the same roster as past non rebuilding seasons minus Marte. Other trade chips were untradable. Taillon Archer Kela all injured. Bell Frazier awful. Musgrove needed to show what he could do when able to pitch to his strengths. So 2022 is year 2 of the rebuild. 2023 should be a decent season. Could be in playoff picture in 2024. Not bad at all compared to recent rebuilds. I don’t see Det KC Bal Mia being much or in some cases any further ahead and they have been rebuilding 2 to 3 times longer.
The sad part is the diehard Pittsburgh fan base just roots for another team because we all know as good as the pipeline of players always looks nutting will just blow it all up again when he has to pay anyone he treats it like a business it’s always about profit to him and always will be until the Bucs has a new owner you ll be lucky to see a year of competitive baseball every decade
It is a business?
Go ahead. Run a business and try NOT to make it about profit. See how long you last.
I agree but there are non-profits. Baseball isn’t one but they do exist.
I’ve was a Pirates fan for most of my life, but the team I also followed my whole life was the Phillies because they had an actual chance to win games. From Dykstra to Thome to Utley. It was so cool when Cutch went there…… it was awful when he tore his ACL on the bonehead Jean Segura play.
In the early days of PNC Park I’d get a 20 game plan, and back them you could pick your games. So I’d go see the Phillies, Astros, Mets…. teams that actually put good players on the field. I mean…. I cheered for the Pirates, but you knew Rob Mackowiak and Kevin Young and Kip Wells, etc, were all terrible.
I have only been to 3 games since they traded Cutch and Cole, all when Cutch came back. I’ve been to Cleveland probably 7 times. Philadelphia, Washington…. I use the money I used to blow on 20 Pirate games to go to other parks now.
I had a 20 game plan back then for a few years too. It was fun. Now I only go to a handful of games a year because PNC Park is still gorgeous, I live about a 20 minute walk away, I still love baseball and sometimes I just want to see Ronald Acuna, Max Scherzer, Juan Soto, Clayton Kershaw, etc. do their thing. Side note: it sucks the Angels never come to Pittsburgh and nobody in Pittsburgh ever gets to see Trout and now Ohtani play.
Also Kevin Young wasn’t the best example, he wasn’t great but he was at least someone who looked like he belonged on a major league team most of the time. But I get what you’re saying since I remember being irrationally excited when the Bucs had Pokey Reese for a year or two since he actually had a couple good years in Cincy before coming to the Bucs.
I actually almost said Pokey Reese instead of Kevin Young.
Every time a man was on first base I knew the Kevin Young patented ground ball double play was coming. The one time he shocked me and came through with 2 outs lead to Giles walk off grand slam off Billy Wagner. One of the best games I ever went to.
bro pirates literally have zero pitching tf you mean
Really? You’re going to start the title of the article with “Pirates, Nutting” and expect my inner twelve year old not to giggle? Thank God for comma placement, I guess? xD
Step one: Tell fans that you are in rebuilding mode. Spend years building foundation.
Step 2: Tell fans you’re finished rebuilding foundation and now moving on to rebuilding major league club.
Step 3: spend next 6 years figuring out a way to tell remaining fans that you are finished step 2 but have decided to go back to step 1.