One of the very first things I added to this site when it launched in 2009 was payroll information. The payroll tracker included the salary for each player on the 40-man roster, along with other information such as the option years remaining, service time, and contract status. We also had a future payroll page, showing what each player was set to make in future years. The combination also showed the team payroll figures and estimates for the current year and future years.

The payroll information is always in demand, and talked about almost daily in Pittsburgh, which is why that was one of the first additions to the site. But the business side of baseball has always been my favorite thing to follow in the game, so having that presence on the site only made sense.

The business of baseball focus has taken a bit of a back seat on the site in recent years, due in large part to how many different jobs I have on the site, and a lack of time to provide regular updates. I had been looking to increase the focus on that aspect, and the original resources on the site, and to accomplish this, I would like to introduce you to Ethan Hullihen, who is the newest contributor at Pirates Prospects.

If you have followed Ethan (you can do so on Twitter here), you know that he is very focused on the business side of things. I can’t think of a better person, myself included, to provide updates on the site regarding payroll, transaction rules, and any other questions you might have. Ethan will start off with a bi-weekly article, and will increase as needed throughout the year.

Ethan and I will also be working to get the best possible payroll tracker up, along with updating the future payroll page, and other resources on the site. That will be coming in the future as we review the CBA to make sure our number and information is the most accurate you can find.

Please join me in welcoming Ethan to the site, and I’ll let Ethan tell you more about what he brings to Pirates Prospects.

Ethan Hullihen

Funny story…

Sometime between the years 2008 and 2012—I can’t remember exactly which one—I was a college student majoring in Accounting with zero writing education or experience. That didn’t stop me from applying for a position with one of my favorite sites covering and writing about the local Altoona Curve, with nothing more to my name than a research paper about the upcoming NBA CBA talks (the more things change…).

That site was of course this one, and while I have no idea if Tim remembers—I never heard back—here we are years later and everything seems to have come full circle.

I still have no formal writing education, but I did gain some experience along the way, albeit completely by chance. While I’m not sure exactly when I discovered it, I had to have been reading Pirates Prospects for the majority of its life, so when Tim asked me if I’d be interested, I was excited by the idea of contributing to the site. I have always enjoyed, valued, and trusted the work done here, so I hope I can contribute that to readers as well.

To anyone who is new to my writing or doesn’t follow me on Twitter, I tend to follow sports differently than most. Viewing sports from the prism of economics, sociology, psychology, finance, and other disciplines interests me far more than the actual game between the lines, but the business side of sports has been my biggest passion for as long as I can remember. While many fans probably think that’s crazy, I have no shame in that. We all enjoy sports differently, and that is how I enjoy mine.

I’ve always closely followed baseball payroll and roster rules—mostly from this site—but it wasn’t until more recently that I really dove head first into the subject. I wear out the related PDF’s saved to my laptop: the last three MLB CBA’s, Official Major League Rules, even the PNC Lease, among others. I’m probably biased, but I am confident that there aren’t many who have a better handle on this side of the game than I do.

For a topic that is so important and focused on by fans, the business side of sports is often misunderstood and woefully underserved. Obviously, this is a hot button issue for Pirates’ fans, but despite this fact, many just don’t have valid information to go off. This is where I wanted to come in when I started writing. With my background in business, plus a love for and knowledge of the business side of baseball, I like to think I’m providing something that’s hard to find elsewhere.

While I am a Pirate fan, I also like to keep my writing and opinion completely objective, but that’s also just the kind of fan I am. I enjoy the game and love the Pirates, but there’s no on-field, personnel, or financial decision they could make that would keep me up at night. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again; it doesn’t matter to me if the Pirates spend $5 million on payroll or $500 million—I couldn’t care less. All that I hope is that there is a fair, knowledgeable, well explained source to report and analyze it.

If that’s the kind of content you value, I hope you come back for more. If not, I hope you check it out anyway. Personally, I’m excited for the opportunity, and I can’t wait to get started.

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