There is no public information on the Pittsburgh Pirates’ local TV deal.
FanGraphs has an estimate for every team, and gave the Pirates an estimated $44 million — matching the totals for the Reds and the Royals.
We didn’t really know the last TV deal. There were reports that it was $20-25 million a year. The Pirates, under president Frank Coonelly at the time, insisted it was higher than the reported amount, but never revealed the amount.
Now, there isn’t even a reported amount.
I can’t imagine why this town doesn’t trust Pirates owner Bob Nutting.
Starting this year, every MLB team receives $60 million dollars in national TV deals before even selling a ticket. The Pirates currently have around a $60 million payroll.
This doesn’t mean they have the entire local TV deal to spend. There are other expenses for the organization, beyond MLB payroll. That said, the Pirates are getting over $100 million estimated before putting in a drop of effort or selling a single ticket. They can clearly spend more money.
My belief is that the Pirates are deliberately tanking right now, in similar fashion to what we’ve seen from teams like the Astros, Cubs, Royals, and other World Series winners over the last decade. I believe their payroll is intentionally low during this period, with the difference being saved for when they’re a contender.
I’ll add that this hasn’t been the preferred path for Bob Nutting in the past. I asked him about this approach under Neal Huntington, and at that point, he made it clear they would not be deficit spending in any year. He may have had a change of heart at the end of Huntington’s tenure. Nutting told Alan Saunders in 2019 that the team would be doing business in a different way going forward, avoiding the approach of trying for a .500 team and hoping to contend. That approach didn’t come with a very strategic spending plan, with the Pirates just spending to their budget every year.
If the Pirates are going with a different spending approach, then this offseason would be a great time to increase the MLB payroll. Hopefully by the end of this season they will have filled some of the holes on the MLB roster with internal options. They will inevitably need help from the outside, especially with pitching.
It’s time to see the Pirates get serious.
It’s time to see Bob Nutting get serious.
To me, the Pirates look like they’re following a common tanking approach — one that they would never admit to. The problem with assuming such an approach is that it’s difficult to trust the history and secrecy around the business dealings of this team.
How much has Bob Nutting really changed the Pirates’ approach? We still haven’t found out the answer, and I think we’re to the point where it needs to be revealed.
Pirates Prospects Spotlight
Daily Video Rundown
Today: Pirates Complete the Sweep
Yesterday: Buccos Battle Back Again
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THIS WEEK ON PIRATES PROSPECTS
Song of the Day
Thank you to Publix for getting this song stuck in my head all day yesterday.