When Pittsburgh Pirates owner Bob Nutting speaks about finances fans typically cling to every word. I’m not so sure why, but they do. Fans that follow the Pirates flock to social media and unleash a barrage of venom directed towards the owner for his frugal, and often times downright cheap, ways in how the MLB club is run.
Recently Nutting spoke to media in Bradenton, Fla. where the Pirates hold their annual Spring Training workouts. Nutting was adamant about building a winner and that “no free agent is off the market.” I have to be honest. When I read that quote I actually chuckled to myself. Why? Because there is no way Nutting would fork out the money for any free agent on the market.
With that said, would Nutting pay for a mid-range free agent who might be able to platoon a position like first base or right field? Certainly, but you won’t see Nutting signing checks to bring in big name players. It just isn’t how the man operates his business, yet fans still expect Nutting to start forking out money for players like he is the next George Steinbrenner. It simply isn’t going to happen.
It was tough to see the Pirates not pony up the money to keep A.J. Burnett around for at least another year, but it is hard to argue with the way Neal Huntington and Frank Coonelly have done business. They have built a farm system that is ranked in the top three depending on the source you are searching. The talent is coming up, and the Pirates don’t want to ship any of that young talent away. I don’t blame them.
What I do want to see is Nutting and company to finally start being honest about their intentions. Instead of telling fans that there isn’t a free agent out of reach, be honest and tell them that they like their team and there are a handful of players who might be able to fill some holes for the team this season. That certainly would sound better than blatant lies.
The Pirates have a lot of questions for which we are told the answers are “on their way.” That sounds great when names like Gregory Polanco and Jameson Taillon get tossed around in regards to being able to help the Pirates midway through this season. The future is bright, but what about the present? That might be a scary proposition.