First Pitch

First Pitch: The Pirates Payroll and a Realistic View on Salary Dumps

First Pitch: The Pirates Payroll and a Realistic View on Salary Dumps

When the Pirates make a move that cuts salary -- such as what happened in the Joel Hanrahan trade -- you hear the usual "salary dump" cries. Technically the move was a salary dump. The Pirates saved about $6.5 M in the move. Dumping salary might have even been a key reason to make the move. The Pirates recently signed Francisco Liriano to a two-year, $12.75 M deal. So the salary unloaded in the Hanrahan deal is mostly already spoken for.

Pirates fans tend to obsess about the team payroll. For years the team has been losing, and payroll was down around the $50 M range. Fans wondered when the payroll would jump to the $70 M range, like what we've seen from other small market teams. I've always pointed out that teams usually follow a specific pattern.

1. The team gets close to .500.

2. Attendance increases.

3. Payroll increases.

Prior to the 2011 season, we asked Pirates president Frank Coonelly when the team would be able to spend $70 M or more on payroll. His response, wh...

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Tim is the owner and editor in chief of Pirates Prospects. He started the site in January 2009, and turned it into his full time job during the 2011 season. Prior to starting Pirates Prospects, Tim worked with AccuScore.com, providing MLB, NHL, and NFL coverage to various national media outlets, including ESPN Insider, USA Today, Yahoo Sports, and the Wall Street Journal. He also writes the annual Prospect Guide, which is sold through the site. Tim lives in Bradenton, where he provides live coverage all year of Spring Training, mini camp, instructs, the Bradenton Marauders, and the GCL Pirates.

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