Why Pittsburgh Pirates Payroll Is So Low, an Answer for Mark Madden.


Aug 16, 2013; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates first baseman Gaby Sanchez (14) doubles against the Arizona Diamondbacks during the eighth inning at PNC Park. The Pittsburgh Pirates won 6-2. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Mark Madden…. One day you’ll stop writing and talking about the Pittsburgh Pirates.  But until that merciful gift is bestowed upon all Pirate fans, you’ll just continue to be wrong and make yourself look like a rube in the process.  It’s to the point now that your logic is so flawed that every time I hear that you try to talk baseball it immediately evokes my sympathy.

In your latest hate speech directed towards Pirate fans and management, you wrote a literary classic titled “Can’t Explain”, a blog asking Pirate fans and/or Bob Nutting to justify the $71 million dollar payroll entering into the 2014 season.  Ok.  So, I’ll justify it to you.  (slowly, so you can follow me).

Let’s start with the obvious.  Had Burnett accepted the $12m offer they made to him, the salary immediately jumps to $83m.  Roughly $15m more than the all-time high they spent last year, and close to double what they spent in 2010.  So your point is already rendered moot.  They have spent money and they are trying to spend more.

I should be able to stop there because there’s your answer, but I feel you have more to learn, so I’ll continue.

You see… when a team extends a potential contract, the other party involved actually has to consent to entering into said agreement to consummate the partnership or else that won’t be reflected in the payroll.  I know this is difficult for you to understand.  If you need to take a break, let me know.

It’s not Neal Huntington’s fault Burnett acted like a petulant child who didn’t get everything he wanted for Christmas, stormed up into his room, locked the door, pouted, then took his ball and went to Philadelphia.  God forbid we actually would have thought Burnett would have some type of professional loyalty to the city that resurrected his career after he was left for dead in New York.

This is a guy who was chased out of the big apple with torches and pitch forks.  He was washed up.  His average ERA the prior two seasons before he joined us was worse than Edison Volquez’s prior two year average ERA.  If you don’t believe me, look it up.  His career was over before he got here.  We are the reason he’s able to cash that big check this year!  So much for gratitude.  Thanks again AJ.  Have fun being a nobody in Philly.

And don’t say he left because of the proximity to home.  A non-stop flight from Pittsburgh to Baltimore takes 1 hour.  We’re not stupid.  At least not all of us.

And to answer your Morneau argument.  Uhh….it’s sad that I even have to explain this to you, but if I must… I must.

No one is arguing that Morneau is a solid player that has had some great seasons in the past.  But that is the primary word here.  “past”.  Over the last three seasons, his overall batting average has been roughly .255.  To his credit, he surpassed that with his time here, hitting a whopping .260.  I see why you like him so much.  But let’s look even closer.

Your proposing that they signed Morneau to be an everyday starter I assume.  The Pirates would have no choice.  He wouldn’t be happy with anything less.  So let’s look at what they’d get for just “$5million”.

Again, looking at a 3 year average, Morneau has hit .258 overall since 2010.  That’s mediocre at best.  But when you look at what he did against LHP it gets really ugly, he hit .205.  Last year he finished 30th among first basemen with 50 at bats or more against LHP with a .207 average.

In comparison, Gaby Sanchez finished 2nd among first basemen in the same category with a .333 batting average against LHP, trailing only Miguel Cabrera.  Let me slow down here… this is important.  Gaby Sanchez hit left handed pitching better then every….other….first basemen… in baseball….except the triple crown winning, 2-time AL MVP Miguel Cabrera.

I’m only hoping that you didn’t know that which is why you’d suggest they should have signed Morneau.

So with that knowledge, in all of your genius, you would still like the Pirates to sit the 2nd best left handed hitting first basemen in the entire major leagues in favor of a guy who would hit at the Mendoza line?  I’m speechless.

Now Morneau does have a good 3 year average against righty’s (.281), but if you tell me that he would be ok with the idea of platooning with Gaby Sanchez, then I’d be forced to call you a liar.   And sitting Gaby Sanchez considering what he’s was able to do last year against south paws is probably the dumbest idea I’ve ever heard.

And they did try to spend money on James Loney.  It was reported that they offered him a very comparable amount to what he got in Tampa Bay.  Which assuming the accuracy of the report, would have been another $6million added on to payroll this year had he accepted.  Which would have put the payroll at $89m.  $22 million over last year’s total.

But again, if you look back a few paragraphs..  people actually have to accept the offers in order for the payroll to increase.  The premise is mind boggling, I know.  Apparently Loney would prefer to be 80 degrees underneath palm trees instead of scraping ice off of his car every morning.  Go figure.

So to summarize.  Take notes please as to not repeat the same mistake.   They tried to sign Burnett for $12million.  They tried to sign Loney for $6million.  And keeping Morneau would have been an absolute asinine decision.

What other first basemen do you propose they go get?  Kendrys Morales?   Give up a first round draft pick and pay $15+ million for that?  Or should they trade their best prospects to go get Ike Davis?   Maybe they should have spent $35million over two years and tried to get Mike Napoli from the Red Sox?  Or signed Cory Hart for $6million after the guy missed the entire 2013 season with multiple surgeries?

Please, in all of your wisdom, propose a solution that actually makes sense.  Bottom line is they tried their best to find a suitable platoon player for Gaby Sanchez because it would be downright stupid to sit him against left handed pitching, but the market wasn’t co-operating.

So next time you go on a rant about the Pirates and ask for an explanation from the fans regarding why the payroll is so low after receiving additional revenue when the answer is so obvious it’s literally biting you in the goutee.

Be careful.  You might just get one.

For real Pirate insight follow me on twitter @TheBigTuna66