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Pittsburgh Pirates Owner Bob Nutting Answers Questions on Offseason

February 19th, 2014 at 4:59 PM
By Allan Smith

Often a favorite of Pittsburgh Pirates critics, Bob Nutting answered to reporters Wednesday at the team's spring facilities in Bradenton, FL after he addressed the squad earlier in the morning.

'Pirates vs. Rays' photo (c) 2011, WEBN-TV - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/2.0/

Nutting was asked about everything from the Pirates' lack of activity this offseason to where the national television dollars that the club received were allocated as well as how the expectations have changed for the former perennial cellar dweller.

“It is different this year, as we’re talking about the level of expectation," Nutting said. "We’ve achieved so much as an organization, we’re in a stronger place than we’ve been, but we need to be moving forward. We need to get better. We can’t be satisfied. Every team in the league, every team in baseball is now aware of us and pushing forward, and I think this is a group that understands that and is ready to move forward.”

He also mentioned the bond formed between the city and the players helped to reemphasize the organization's responsibility to perform. However, Nutting said the team will continue to do what they have been doing as far as building the roster.

“We’re going to focus on the resources that we know that we have, and we’re going to make sure that we’re focused on total dollars, but how do we really invest effectively so that we’re getting the right mix of our development system?" Nutting said. "The right mix of talent coming into the organization, and a real commitment to make sure that the 2014 team knows they’re our top priority and we need to perform when in Pittsburgh.”

He was excited about the team's farm system being so highly regarded. The system was rated the best in all of baseball by Baseball America earlier this winter.

“Depth of talent inside the organization…that’s really the source of talent that’s going to sustain and build on, and continue to allow us to improve as Pittsburgh Pirates," Nutting said.

With that in mind, Nutting said a first round draft pick is very meaningful for a small-market team such as the Pirates and that they would hesitate to give that up for a free agent such as Nelson Cruz, Ervin Santana or Kendrys Morales.

“I am very enthusiastic about the team that we have to put on the field,” Nutting said. “Were there some areas where we talked about being able to build and supplement, whether it’s right field or first base? Absolutely. Are we in a strong position to go out and put a team that I have faith is not only going to compete, but can excel in 2014? Absolutely. I hope we’re never satisfied, but I’m very enthusiastic about where we are.”

This offseason, the Pirates signed Edinson Volquez and Clint Barmes in addition to a few other minor acquisitions.

"I think the process was strong, the additions were strong," Nutting said.

He added MLB is holding back some of the reported revenues from the national television deal to allocate that to other places, such as streaming rights, which means teams won’t be getting close to the $25-27 million each year.

However, Nutting did mention that they would continue to seek deals at the trade deadline, and said that the team would prefer to give up cash, rather than prospects, which is an approach they’ve taken in the past.

“There’s no question that it is easier, and more impactful, especially at the trading deadline, to write an extra check, rather than give up prospects,” Nutting said.

With manager Clint Hurdle and Neal Huntington both on the second-to-last year of their respective contracts, Nutting said he hopes both will remain with the Pirates for a long time, but didn't say that any discussions on contract extensions were happening.

“I think what’s important to me is that they understand, and the organization understands that they’ve been critical pieces in getting us here, and my expectation is they’re going to be critically important pieces as we move forward to the future,” Nutting said.

For Nutting, he said his "single-minded focus" was to bring Pittsburgh its sixth World Series title.

“We’re committed to improving upon a great year last year, but moving beyond that for 2014 and on in the future,” Nutting said. “We expect, and the fans deserve for us to bring a championship to Pittsburgh. That’s what we’ve been working on for years."

Information provided by Pirates Prospects and the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Tags: Baseball, Bob Nutting, MLB, Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh Pirates

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