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Tuesday, November 12 2019 @ 03:22 pm UTC
Money Talks and . . .  View Printable Version 
by Wilbur T. Miller

Dejan Kovacevic ran an interesting article in the Sunday PG. He notes that the Pirates are placing an "internal value" on the free agents they've attempted to sign and have refused to go above that value. The approach: "A dollar value for a player is formulated by the baseball staff based on market and performance analysis, and a contract agreement is reached only if the terms do not exceed that value."
The Panic Deepens  View Printable Version 
by Wilbur Miller

DAVE Littlefield’s desperation to save his job by trying to avert another 95-loss season reached new heights as he traded for the expensive and declining Matt Morris to shore up the Pirates’ rotation. The stunning part was that Littlefield agreed to pick up all of Morris’ hefty salary. If they don’t exercise their 2009 option, the Pirates will be on the hook for a minimum of more than $15M over the next year and two months. With two expensive shortstops, both among MLB’s weakest hitters, already under contract — assuming the Pirates exercise Cesar Izturis’ option, which seems highly likely given Jim Tracy’s affection for his former LA out machine — the Pirates have gone well over their projected payroll and probably eliminated any semblance of financial flexibility for the near future.
Payroll (mis)Management — Littlefield v. Bonifay  View Printable Version 
by Wilbur Miller

WITH Dave Littlefield becoming almost universally vilified for his non-existent ability to evaluate talent, his claim to being a better (or less atrocious) General Manager than Cam Bonifay is entirely based on the notion that he hasn’t saddled the team with bad contracts. I don’t think this is a valid argument.

Bonifay was notorious for four contracts: Meares, Bell, Young and Kendall. But has Littlefield really done so much better?
This is Dave’s Team Now  View Printable Version 
by Wilbur T. Miller

THOSE words were spoken by an anonymous Pirate official when Dave Littlefield traded away Jason Kendall. With the contracts of Kendall, Kevin Young, Derek Bell and Pat Meares off the books, Dave was finally going to get the chance to remake the Pirates in his own image. So it came about that Dave labored to build a team that fulfilled his vision. And when his labors were done, Dave rested and looked upon what he had wrought...and hit the panic button.
The Shell Game June 19, 2006  View Printable Version 
by Wilbur Miller

Pirate fans should take up a new slogan: “Show Me the Money.” The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review ran an article on June 18 discussing the Pirates’ take from revenue sharing, specifically asking the question, “Where is the money going?”

http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/sports/pirates/s_458555.html

It’s obviously a pertinent question, because the Basic Agreement provides that “each Club shall use its revenue sharing receipts (from the Base Plan, the Central Fund Component and the Commissioner’s Discretionary Fund) in an effort to improve its performance on the field.”
Mismanagement 101 May 2, 2006  View Printable Version 
by Wilbur Miller

One of the more popular topics among Pirate fans in recent years has been the quality of the job done by General Manager Dave Littlefield. Thanks to the team’s continued poor play, this subject probably generates less controversy than it once did, but there still remains a segment of the team’s shrinking fan base that considers Littlefield to be at least an adequate GM. Well, as one unnamed member of the organization said after Littlefield traded Jason Kendall, “This is Dave’s team now.” Since it’s finally “Dave’s team,” it must also be a good point at which to judge Dave’s performance.
Trouble for the Welfare Queens, Part 2 May 1, 2006  View Printable Version 
By Wilbur Miller

Maury Brown, at The Hardball Times, has posted an article examining a subject that owners like Kevin McClatchy and David Glass would probably prefer did not get much public airing: the upcoming collision between revenue sharing and labor talks with the union. The Upcoming CBA. This article is worth reading, because it’s going to have significant implications for the Pirates.
Trouble for MLB’s Welfare Queens? February 22, 2006  View Printable Version 
by Wilbur Miller

This is just a short piece inspired by some recent developments that may impact the future of revenue sharing in MLB.

Joe Sheehan pointed out today in an article in the subscribers’ area at Prospectus that there are signs the wealthier owners are getting tired of subsidizing teams like the Pirates and Royals. He pointed to an article in which John Henry questions whether the current system provides enough incentive for teams to compete.

http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/news/story?id=2333455
The Company You Keep February 06, 2006  View Printable Version 
by Wilbur Miller

Baseball America recently posted an online article by Jim Callis — in the subscribers’ area — entitled “Royals’ Latest Plan Won’t Work Either.” What’s most striking about the article is that, if you substitute a few names, it could just as easily have been about the Pirates.
One Step Back, Two Steps Back January 10, 2006  View Printable Version 
by Wilbur Miller

We can all rest easy now: Kevin McClatchy has declared Dave Littlefield’s off-season acquisitions a success. Littlefield, according to McClatchy, more than fulfilled his mission to acquire two bats. He acquired three: Victor Santos, Damaso Marte and Roberto Hernandez…er, no, they all own bats, but McClatchy was probably referring to Sean Casey, Jeromy Burnitz and Joe Randa. Various articles are already referring to these players as “solidifying” the middle of a batting order that ranked at or near the bottom in nearly everything in 2005. “Solidifying” is the word I keep seeing. It seems carefully chosen to avoid use of the more relevant word: “improving.” Is there a reason we don’t see the latter word? Let’s try directly addressing the question that seems to be escaping scrutiny elsewhere.