Pittsburgh Pirates: Frank Coonelly Asking for Criticism

(Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images)
(Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images) /

The Pittsburgh Pirates are gearing up for their offseason with the postseason underway.  The team’s president had some comments on the upcoming winter.

If there is one thing that the Pittsburgh Pirates front office needs to do this offseason, it is to add an impact bat.  The team lacked that true middle of the lineup hitter (as usual).  Coming into the year, many expected either Gregory Polanco or Josh Bell to fill that spot.  Bell hit 26 homers in 2017 to turn in 58 total extra-base hits.  Meanwhile, many expected Polanco to finally breakout due to entering the year healthy.

Instead, Josh Bell completely regressed in the power section of his game.  He only hit 12 home runs this year to give him a total of 47 extra base hits.  With that, his strikeout rate went down while his walk rate improved.  Still, that is not exactly what people expect from a middle of a lineup bat.  Also, Gregory Polanco saw his home run total move up to 27 bombs this year, but he once again saw a ton of inconsistency in the first half.  He started to figure it out in the second half of the season when the team backed him off the plate, but by that time he had already struggled through two months. These cases could be the main reason why the hitting coach tandem was fired just three days ago.

So, two the Pittsburgh Pirates Team President did an interview with 93.7 The Fan.  Frank Coonelly was asked about what the team will do this offseason in terms of adding a significant bat via free agency.  Coonelly’s response was not one that many fans want to hear, and it is not going to do the Pittsburgh Pirates any favors as the offseason progresses.  Coonelly told The Fan:

"“Look at the Oakland A’s this year, they started the season with the lowest payroll in all of Major League Baseball this year, and they ended up winning 98 games. We need to get better and personnel will be part of that solution, but it’s never just about money.”"

The first mistake by the Pittsburgh Pirates President is referencing the Oakland A’s lack of spending and winning.  The team’s payroll, as of now, projects to be around 70-75 million, which is incredibly low.  Of course, that is without any transactions being made.  However, that he even suggests that you can win without spending money tells the Pittsburgh Pirates fans that the team is not going to spend a considerable amount of money this offseason.

Also, the team was largely criticized last year for not signing on Major League free agent.  Coonelly references that the team’s current personnel needs to get better.  While that is true, he once again is not doing himself or the Pittsburgh Pirates organization any favors with the fan base.  By saying the team needs their internal players to do better, he makes it sound like the team is not going to bring in a significant player to help with the improvement.

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Whether or not the Pittsburgh Pirates will bring in a free agent and increase payroll significantly remains to be seen.  However, Frank Coonelly is not doing himself or the Pittsburgh Pirates organization any favors with his comments.  He makes it sound like the team will not be spending or looking to bring in a legitimate offensive player to put in the middle of the lineup.  Once again, it seems like they are already gearing up their excuses to let down the fans this offseason.