SBD/February 21, 2013/Franchises

Pirates Owner Nutting Wants To Win World Series With "Superior" Farm System

Nutting says he does not want to mortgage the Pirates' future for short term success
Pirates Chair Bob Nutting yesterday said that he wanted the franchise to attempt to win a championship "through a superior player-development system and cautioned against high-profile additions at the trade deadline that force the Pirates to part with the jewels of that system," according to Bill Brink of the PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE. Nutting said, "We could have patched pieces together for a short-term blip to pop us over .500. I'm glad we didn't do it because I think what we did was the responsible and correct things for the long term of the franchise." He added, "What I hope we don't do is mortgage the future to make it a very short term." Nutting: "We are absolutely maximizing where we can in the major league payroll because, fundamentally, we need to win in Pittsburgh" (PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE, 2/21). Nutting said, "The mindset is, we must take a step forward. We expect to win. ... I'm incredibly optimistic we're in a position to take another step forward." Nutting, noting the team has not had a winning season since '92, added, "At some point we're going to need to pass through 82 wins. When we do, I will celebrate." In Pittsburgh, Rob Biertempfel notes the Pirates will go into this season "with a payroll of about $74 million -- the largest in franchise history, although it still will be among the smallest in the majors." Nutting said, "We are not in a position where we've held back and kept a big reserve (of cash). That would be irresponsible" (PITTSBURGH TRIBUNE-REVIEW, 2/21).

NEW-LOOK HOME: Biertempfel noted 90-year-old McKechnie Field has undergone a $10M renovation as the Pirates "begin their 45th year" at the Spring Training facility. The "new-look field" was unveiled yesterday. By installing outfield seats "for the first time, capacity was boosted from 6,500 to 8,500." It is the "fourth-largest ballpark in the Grapefruit League." The centerpiece of the renovation is "a 19,000-square-foot boardwalk spanning the outfield." A new "agility drills area, a half-field and indoor batting cages were built behind the outfield." The team paid $3M "toward the stadium upgrade; the public contribution came via a tourist development tax." As part of the deal with the city of Bradenton, Fla., and Manatee County, the Pirates will "spend up to $400,000 annually to promote Bradenton via advertising in Pittsburgh" (TRIBLIVE.com, 2/20).
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