In Response To Leak, Pirates Release Financial Information

The Pirates reveal that they made about $5 million in 2009.

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Local Accountant: Pirates Not A Cash Cow

A local accountant has analyzed the Pirates’ 2007-2009 financial records, which were leaked and published on Deadspin this week. Essentially, it appears that the Pirates aren’t making a lot of money right now, just enough to get by year to year. The endgame for Bob Nutting, then, as with owners of many other teams, isn’t to use the Pirates as his personal checking account – not that he could do that anyway. Rather, it’s to cash in when he ultimately sells the team, as market values of major league franchises tend to increase over time.

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AP Report Attacks Pirates

Here’s the AP report, which basically takes everything the Pirates already said and makes it sound really, really negative. There is one really unfortunate quote from Frank Coonelly that the Pirates “can win without an $80 million payroll.”

You can, sure, but it’s hard to do once and even harder to sustain. The Pirates have more or less already promised that they’d be raising payroll to the level of the Brewers and Reds, who have payrolls in the range of $80 million, so they’d better follow through and actually do it.

To be clear, I don’t think the Pirates should raise the payroll that high right now; they’re awful, and $40 million more will just make them marginally less awful, while potentially producing payroll problems in the future. Keeping the payroll low now makes sense. When the Bucs do have the core of a competitive club in place, though, they need to start spending, in order to turn an average or slightly above average team into a playoff contender.

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In Response To Leak, Pirates Release Financial Information

Personally, I'd rather not spend my Sunday discussing financial statements, but this is the sort of thing that Pirates fans love to obsess over, so have at it. Basically, someone leaked some internal financial information to the Associated Press, so the Pirates are releasing it themselves so they can explain it first. The Bucs say they made about $5 million in 2009. They made more in '07 and '08, and they released about $20 million to the ownership group in 2008. The Bucs say that was to help owners pay taxes on the team's profits, and to repay owner Bob Nutting's family for a loan made in 2003 (when the Pirates' finances were so bad they had to trade Aramis Ramirez). 

Nothing here seems particularly strange to me, but I imagine we're going to hear a lot more about it when the AP report comes out. 

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