SBD/Issue 241/Franchises

Selig Says MLB Has No Issues With The Pirates' Finances

Sources Say Pirates' Payroll Increase Next
Season Likely To Be In The $50M Range

MLB Commissioner Bud Selig Friday said that he has “no issues with the Pirates’ finances in light of the team recently divulging that it made $35 million in profits from 2007-09 and distributed $20.4 million of that to ownership for taxes and repaid loan interest,” according to Dejan Kovacevic of the PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE. Selig also “appeared to applaud” Pirates President Frank Coonelly’s statement last week that the team “could have a ‘meaningful’ increase in payroll” for ’11. The Pirates’ 40-man roster payroll “projects to finish the season at $44 million, lowest in the majors.” Team sources said that the “likeliest target for an increase … would be in the range of $50 million, which still would be among the lowest in the majors.” Selig said, “I feel comfortable with telling you that the union wanted to talk about Pittsburgh six months ago. They did and left satisfied. Let me say this to you: We constantly check everything. The players’ association has all the numbers.” Selig also “emphasized the Pirates’ investment in the draft, which has been the highest in the majors the past three years” at $30.7M (PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE, 8/28). Selig said, “People can talk about money, but they’ve spent a lot of money on scouting, a lot of money on player development. The frustration levels, I understand it from the fans’ standpoint. But it takes time to show. I’m satisfied that they are making good progress right now.” Meanwhile, Selig said of the leak of the financial documents, “I would rather it was not done. It was not done properly. It’s sad, in a way, that people violate confidences" (MLB.com, 8/27).

SMALL-MARKET SUCCESS STORY: In Pittsburgh, Bob Cohn noted the Pirates “have limited resources, even with their slice of revenue sharing.” In a “world free from salary-cap restraints, big-market teams with deep revenue streams always will have a competitive advantage.” But that “doesn’t mean modest spenders in smaller markets can’t win from time to time.” The NL West-leading Padres, who had the second-lowest payroll on Opening Day, are “getting the most bang from” their bucks this season (Pittsburgh TRIBUNE-REVIEW, 8/29).

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