SBD/February 23, 2011/Franchises

Bob Nutting Vows Pirates' Budget Will Be Big Enough To Improve

Bob Nutting "believes the Pirates are better now than they were a year ago and vowed the team's budget will be big enough to make them even better," according to Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh TRIBUNE-REVIEW. The team owner said Monday, "We're in a great position right now. We are not handcuffed to where we have to make moves we don't want to make or we are unable to make moves we do want to make, purely because of financial reasons." Payroll this season for the 40-man roster will be around $45M, "among the lowest in the majors." The figure "likely will go up," as many of the younger players such as CF Andrew McCutchen and LF Jose Tabata "approach arbitration and free agency." Nutting said that the team, which has the first overall pick in the First-Year Player Draft, "will not be limited by monetary concerns." Nutting: "We certainly will not be in a position where we select based on dollars or signability. We're going to select for the greatest impact." Nutting spoke to Pirates players Monday "for about 15 minutes during a closed-door team meeting." Nutting: "The message this year was a change in level of expectation." Meanwhile, Biertempfel noted Pirates GM Neal Huntington's contract "expires after this season and no extension has been offered." Pirates President Frank Coonelly said that Huntington's status "will be evaluated during the year" (Pittsburgh TRIBUNE-REVIEW, 2/22). When asked "whose head is on the block" if the Pirates do make progress this season, Nutting said, "It is too early to start speculating. It is not productive and not the right use of energy" (PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE, 2/22).
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