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New CBA not Pirates-friendly


The new Collective Bargaining Agreement, which today was ratified by the players’ union executive board, is not as friendly as it could be to the Pirates. For example, capping signings in the amateur draft and international free agent market won’t do the Pirates any favors. The club will be allowed to spend $9.27 million in next year’s draft — only a bit more than half of what it spent in 2011 to sign its draft picks.

The new CBA also has outlawed minicamps, a change pushed through by the players’ union that I’m sure is very unpopular in the Pirates’ front office. The Pirates have held minicamps the past several years — a voluntary, week-long gathering that usually was held in Bradenton, Fla. Management used the camps to evaluate players’ conditioning, monitor injury rehabs and asses basic skills. The workouts usually were not very intense; just a warmup of sorts before spring training. It also was a good way to foster team building — a golf outing was always on the itinerary, and last year the players hung out together to watch the BCS championship game — and a venue to players and coaches to get to know each other.

Baseball’s economics drastically reduce the Pirates’ margin of error; it’s often impossible for them to overcome a poor roster decision, a prolonger slump by anyone or a slew of lingering injuries. Minicamp was a small step the team was able to take to try to avoid some of those pitfalls. But not any more.

»»» Today, managers were announced for the Pirates’ minor league affiliates. All the skippers return at the three highest levels — Dean Treanor at Triple-A Indy, P.J. Forbes at Double-A Altoona and Carlos Garcia at High-A Bradenton. At Low-A West Virginia, Rick Sofield replaces Gary Robinson, who moved into a scouting role. Dave Turgeon is back at short-season State College and Tom Prince returns to the rookie ball team. The two Dominican Summer League teams will be managed by Larry Sutton and Gera Alvarez. The Pirates will not field a team in the Venezuelan Summer League next year.

A few other changes: Scott Mitchell was promoted to minor league pitching coordinator. Brad Fischer, formerly an advisor, is now field coordinator. Bernie Holliday was promoted to director of mental conditioning, and will be aided by newly hired mental conditioning coordinator Tyson Holt.

»»» Jim Benedict gave up his role as pitching coordinator but will continue with the Pirates as a special assistant to GM. Benedict was pitching coordinator the past two years and last season was instrumental in right-hander Charlie Morton’s dramatic turnaround. “We can use (Benedict) in many more areas and expand his impact in his current role,” assistant GM Kyle Stark said. “He will impact our ML club, our system, and player acquisition at all levels. Scott Mitchell has shown he is ready for the pitching coordinator role. We’re excited about both guys and their impact on the organization.”



  1. Will this lead to more wins? In PITTSBURGH??

    Or, is this just reshuffling the chairs?

    How long, O Lord?!

  2. joel says:

    I e-mailed Bud Selig’s office after that new CBA was signed. I told him, “were the Yankees and Redsox’s that PO’ed that the Pirates signed Josh Bell for 5 million”??? Yet you will wink when then spend 150-200 million on one player. As far as I am conserned your whole team should be fired. I did receive a computer e-mail stating a reply would be coming. Never happened!!!!

  3. Ron says:

    MLB is no longer a competative league but an entertainment spectacle with the big market teams as the headliners, the Pirates of the world the opening acts and the fans the suckers spending money on the illusion.

  4. John Lease says:

    How can they outlaw voluntary minicamps? What if the manager shows up at your house over the winter, is that verboten too?

  5. Candid Cam says:

    I hate Major League Baseball more every day.

  6. Jay Walker says:

    Lousy CBA? Thank our Buccos and the other many have-nots for that. They would rather take the hush money than field competitive teams.

  7. Dejan Shortpants says:

    I can hear Pirates Nation now . . . “Mil-ledge! Mil-ledge! Mil-ledge . . .!

  8. Kevin says:

    How is this even remotely a bad thing for the Pirates? It hurts their PR where they tell you they’ve spent more then most teams in the draft. But this isn’t the NFL where the players you draft have come up through the free minor league NCAA and are ready to perform for your team. They are instead raw 17 and 18 year olds and have 3 to 5 years of minor league seasoning before they MAY ever make it to the bigs.

    All this does is help owners of ANY MLB team to not overspend. There’s a reason that the Scott Boras’ of the world don’t like the deal and it’s because he wont be able to reap huge commissions off maybe wunderkinds who recieve excessive deals for performing against High Schoolers.

    The true problem of the Pirates is an atrocious owner CEO and GM. They should’nt be showing faux indignation over being relieved of the burden of overpaying in the draft. Especially when the draft slotting system was the brainchild of the amazingly incompetent CEO who was hired out of the MLB offices solely for the purpose of getting the League office off their back for being the cheapest most shabbily run sports team in modern history.

    To the point the MLB draft and being terrible on the field for years doesn’t guarantee the right to draft a Peyton Manning and reset your franchise. It takes fantastic scouting and then fantastic coaching of alot more then 1 or 2 high priced draftees to overturn years and years of incompetence in the higher levels of the franchise.

  9. Willie says:

    Does Pittsburgh really need a major league baseball team?

    Trust me — it would do just fine without one.

  10. Charles says:


    I wasn’t aware that we had one.

  11. Willie says:

    Hey, Rob, was Pirate Fest moved up so Huntington and Coonelly don’t have to explain what piss-poor jobs they did in the off-season?

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