Pittsburgh Pirates Fan Fest: Frank Coonelly on Arbitration

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The Pittsburgh Pirates only had 3 players who were arbitration eligible entering this offseason.  So why has there not been a whole lot of spending?

It is that time of the year again for the Pittsburgh Pirates and their fan base.  The team is hosting their annual Pittsburgh Pirates Fanfest today at PNC Park.  This is a great opportunity for fans to go down, meet some of the players, prospects, coaches, and other personnel involved in the organization.

Another benefit for the fan fest is that a lot of media members go and many of the players, coaches, and front office members do Question and Answer sections. This is when the Pittsburgh Pirates front office normally tips their hand on what else they have planned for the offseason.  The Pittsburgh Pirates are one of the quietest teams in Major League Baseball, normally they do not let a whole lot of information get outside of the organization.

However, at PiratesFest the Front Office is assaulted by members of the media and fans asking what is left to do this offseason.  In years past, Neal Huntington and Frank Coonelly have shed some light on what moves they were still looking to make or what their thought process on specific players would be entering the season.  They also answer the tough questions about the team’s direction and payroll every year, the most sensitive topic for the Pittsburgh Pirates and their fan base.

Of course, with the National League Central being one of the most active divisions this offseason and the Pittsburgh Pirates lack of movement there are already concerns about the team’s chances in 2019.  As of now, the Pittsburgh Pirates payroll is about 30 million dollars less than the Reds’ who are the second lowest in the division. Many fans are hoping that it’s because the Pittsburgh Pirates have a plan, that maybe they are in on Machado, or will look to spend once the big free agents come off the market and they can go from there.

However, after Frank Coonelly’s comments at the Pittsburgh Pirates FanFest today it does not sound like there are a whole lot of plans to spend in the near term future. Stephen Nesbitt of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette paraphrased what Frank Coonelly said during his interview today regarding team payroll and arbitration salaries in the future.  He is what Nesbitt tweeted:

"“Frank Coonelly pointed out that more than 50% of the Pirates’ 40-man roster is not yet arbitration eligible, which partially explains why payroll is down. He said eight of those will become arb eligible, and thus more expensive, next year. He said payroll can grow.”"

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This is obviously not something that any Pittsburgh Pirates fan wants to hear.  The team has a glaring hole at shortstop, could use another starter, and potentially another reliever.  The fact that the Pittsburgh Pirate team president is publicly stating that the team’s payroll is down because of the potential raises next offseason is just more of the same.  Unfortunately, more of the same is something that Pittsburgh Pirates fans are getting tired of and needs to change.

*Nesbitt later tweeted that he meant the 25 man roster, not the 40 man roster.