The Pittsburgh Pirates need significant change to come to help them become more competitive.
The 2021 Baseball season is officially in the books. The Atlanta Braves defeated the Houston Astros in six games to take the 2021 World Series title. With the end of the World Series, the focus is now on the upcoming offseason, one that will be busy for the Pittsburgh Pirates.
The Pittsburgh Pirates need to see change this offseason. They cannot simply continue on the track they are on and hope to compete consistently. The good news is this could be the offseason that the Pittsburgh Pirates finally see that change.
The Major League Baseball CBA is set to expire this offseason and this is where the Pittsburgh Pirates need to see change. It has been very tough to be a Pittsburgh Pirates fan. In general, the excuse for the Bucs issues is that they do not spend enough money and do not act aggressively in acquiring players.
This is true, but if you are a fan of the Pittsburgh Pirates then deep down inside you know that the issue is bigger than just Bob Nutting and the market size of Pittsburgh. Major League Baseball is the issue. The financial gap between teams is ever-growing as the big markets continue to gain ridiculous revenue compared to the smaller market teams.
For instance, the Los Angeles Dodgers average north of $300,000,000 per season. Many other big market teams are also in the hundred-millions range. The Pittsburgh Pirates signed a new TV deal last offseason. As of now, that information regarding the new deal has not been made public. However, the team’s previous deal paid them on average around $20,000,000 a year, or just under 10% of what the Dodgers bring in each season.
So in what world can the Pittsburgh Pirates realistically compete with the bigger markets? Should Bob Nutting spend more, 100 percent, but even if he does the team still may not really be in a position to win when looking at the other markets around Major League Baseball. For small-market teams to compete they need everything to go right. The Tampa Bay Rays have seemed to master this model, but even they still have lost out to the big market teams in the end.
The same can be said for the Pittsburgh Pirates. They have had three relevant seasons since 1992, the year I was born. It seemed to take an eternity to see a competitive team and for as long as it would take to get to that point, it went away in the blink of an eye. The Kansas City Royals, another small-market team that had success around the same time, also came crashing down rather quickly. This is because not everything went 100 percent right, small-market teams do not have much of a margin for error.
A new CBA will hopefully change the outlook for the future of Baseball. There has been a lot of speculation that there could be some sort of salary cap system put into place. Of course, a cap system means a lot more than just limiting money spent on contracts. A cap system will institute a salary cap floor to ensure competitive spending.
The biggest positive however is that in a cap system there is revenue sharing. Revenue sharing is what Major League Baseball needs to change this offseason. Currently, MLB is the only one of the four major sports leagues that does not have a Salary Cap system in place, meaning the League does not really share much of their revenue.
It simply is impossible for teams in smaller markets to make up for the money that can be generated in bigger markets. The Pittsburgh Pirates have been hampered by this for years and until there is a change the Bucs will continue to spend toward the bottom of the league.
This is a crucial offseason for the Pittsburgh Pirates. A cap system would not only help the Pittsburgh Pirates but make the league more competitive as a whole and therefore more enticing to watch for fans everywhere.