I have always enjoyed Jayson's writing on baseball and the humor that he
typically provides with his stories. I have not known Jayson to be focused on business writing, including
the business of baseball. Having said that, the numbers that Jayson speculates are closer to reality than
numbers thrown about by others such as Bill Madden and Scott Boras. Of course, if one compares
what a club receives from [MLB's] central fund and from the local revenue-sharing program to the club's
payroll, they are missing the fact that a club's payroll constitutes only part of its player-related costs.
The millions of dollars that a club spends in the Draft and in free agents and international signings, the
millions that a club spends to support its entire Minor League system, the millions a club spends on its
Major League team operations such as travel, medical expenses, are all over and above what is spent
on a Major League payroll. A club like ours pays considerably more in player-related expenses than
even the inflated numbers that several have speculated we receive in revenue sharing and from the
And, of course, all of this is before considering all of a club's other expenses such as
stadium operations, front office, marketing, community and other expenses. In short, the effort by
some to shift the debate from the real competitive balance issues in the game to assertions that low-revenue clubs are not properly utilizing revenue sharing receipts is a canard. I can only speak for the
Pirates, but we utilize all of our revenues in an effort to build a winning baseball club by investing in all
aspects of the acquisition and development of players.
gorillagogo: On paper, Jeff Clement and Steven Pearce would appear to make a good platoon at first base.
Are the Pirates seriously considering such a scenario?
Coonelly: gorillagogo, Jeff Clement and Steve Pearce will both certainly be given an
opportunity that they both deserve playing time at first base. With Garrett Jones able to play first base and
right field, we have flexibility at the corner positions. Both Jeff and Steve will see considerable time at
first base this spring.
jm_bucsfan: Why did you move a Minor League team from Lynchburg to Bradenton?
Coonelly: jm_bucsfan, actually we did not move from Lynchburg to Bradenton. We had an
affiliate agreement in Lynchburg, but we had an opportunity to purchase the Sarasota Reds and move
that club to Bradenton. By purchasing a Minor League affiliate for Bradenton, we were able to stabilize
our high-A team at our Spring Training home. This investment in Bradenton will allow us to more fully
utilize all of our resources that we have at Pirate City, in terms of both personnel and facilities. the
purchase of a Minor League team in Bradenton also allows us to have a greater presence in the
Bradenton community on a year-round basis.
banny76: Happy Holidays, Mr. Coonelly! I really hope that you may spend a dollar or two
on Rick Ankiel, the outfielder, of course, presently of the St. Louis Cardinals.
Coonelly: banny76, I appreciate your support of the Pirates and your keen scouting
report. As has been noted in several newspaper reports, Rick Ankiel is a free agent who we have some
interest in. Rick certainly had an off-year at the plate for the Cardinals in 2009, but we believe that the
Pirates could provide Rick with an opportunity to re-establish himself. We have let Rick's
representative know of our interest.
Kidspud: Mr. Coonelly, do you think the club will bring in any free-agent pitchers for the
rotation or the bullpen? And if so, are there any particular tools that the club is looking for in a free-agent pitcher?
Coonelly: Kidspud, we are looking for opportunities to upgrade our ballclub and we are
certainly looking to upgrade our pitching. While we feel good about our internal options for the starting
rotation, we are making inquiries with several pitchers who have started in their careers. Obviously,
we have several opportunities in the bullpen and we are aggressively pursuing players to fill open
bullpen positions. In terms of tools, we have certainly looked to upgrade our staff in terms of hard
throwers, but we have also looked to give [manager John Russell] and [pitching coach] Joe Kerrigan several different looks in the bullpen.
While we much prefer bullpen arms who can retire both left- and right-handed batters, we are looking
hard at several left-handed options.
Mongoose: Hi, Frank. How does Liberty Media's recent sale of FSN to DIRECTV affect the
television broadcast of Pirates games? Or, will fans see no visible effect?
Coonelly: Mongoose, we have been in close contact with the Liberty Media executives
regarding the sale of FSN Pittsburgh to DIRECTV and have been assured that if anything, the quality of
our relationship and the production of Pirates games will improve under DIRECTV. The senior
management team of Liberty and FSN is remaining in place and has been great partners of the Pirates.
DIRECTV is an innovator in sports television and we are looking forward to its experience and
innovation applied to Pirates baseball on FSN.
bringbacknomar2bostn: What has been the best part of being the president of the
Coonelly: bringbacknomar2boston, thanks for your question. There are many fabulous
pleasures that I am honored to enjoy as the president of the Pittsburgh Pirates. The best part of my
job, however, is getting to meet the passionate fans of this organization. Day-in and day-out I meet
Pirates fans who support the organization and are helping us return a winner to this city again.
Everyone at the Pirates' organization works extraordinarily hard to accomplish this goal because of the
passion and loyalty of our great fans.
jm_bucsfan: What's the strategy heading into the Rule 5 Draft? Is there a spot available?
What would you look for?
Coonelly: Thanks everyone for your questions. This will be the last one of the day.
jm_bucsfan, we have the No. 2 selection in the Rule 5 Draft this year and [general manager] Neal [Huntington] and his staff have
been carefully studying all of the players who are available to be selected in the Draft. Our roster is at
40, but we are able to move players off the roster in order to select a player in the Rule 5 Draft. In each
of the last two years, we've selected a relief pitcher [Evan Meek and Donnie Veal] and believe that both
players were productive acquisitions. In light of the players who are available in the Draft this year, it is
entirely possible that we will again make one or more selections.
Coonelly: Thank you again, everyone, and I look forward to talking with you all again after
the new year. Neal Huntington will be online to answer some questions the week following the