Because of the trade that is sending Starling Marte to the Arizona Diamondbacks, the Pittsburgh Pirates managed to dump just about $10 million from their payroll on Monday. This brings their already-embarrassing mark to a new low.
According to Bob Nightengale of USA Today, the Pirates' payroll is now currently sitting at $43.265 million.
The Pirates are a small-market team and require building from within to even sniff a World Series. In that sense, the trade of Marte for two prospects ranked in the top-10 of Arizona's system per Baseball America is a win. However, it's just another in a series of moves that pushes back their timetable for contention. Meanwhile, Bob Nutting continues to rake in money.
Spending as little money as possible with a total disregard for success is the exact opposite of what sports is about.
Compare the Pirates to the New York Yankees, who after signing AL Cy Young Award-winner Gerrit Cole to a $324 million deal and concocting probably the best team in baseball, has a payroll of nearly $250 million according to spotrac.com. The Yankees are capable of spending much more money than the Pirates, but a $200 million discrepancy is too dramatic a difference, and proves baseball's system is broken.
Nutting, meanwhile, continues to take advantage of MLB's revenue sharing system, but doesn't actually put that money back into the organization which helps pay his bills.
The MLB needs to hold the Pirates accountable for their lack of spending and force them to make moves. Tanking is a part of sports, and Pittsburgh is seemingly always in a rebuild.
Minus a brief stint of contention from 2013-15, the Pirates window shut far quicker than it had to thanks to the penny-pinching ways of an owner who knows nothing else. Now asked to start over, he's doubled his efforts and then some.