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.