Looking over the long term lays out a complete representation of what an organization typically spends.
In the last 10 years, the Pirates have the 28th highest average payroll at $66.6 million. Only the Marlins ($64.7 mill) and Rays ($62.7 mill) are lower.
The Milwaukee Brewers have spent 27 percent more than the Bucs.
The Cincinnati Reds have spent 34 percent more than the Bucs.
The St. Louis Cardinals have spent 70 percent more than the Bucs.
The Chicago Cubs have spent 89 percent more than the Bucs.
Can scouting make up for the disparity in payroll? Yes, maybe in the short run, but over time it’s simply not a competitive set up.
Oh and why are we going back that far? The Nutting family has served as the majority owner since 2007, a period covering the entire timeframe.
The Pirates drew 1,919,447 fans in 2017. They have averaged 1,921,592 over the last 15 years.
Over the last five seasons, Pittsburgh has averaged 2,273,298 fans, good for a surprising 17th most. That means 13 other teams have drawn fewer fans.
By comparison, the average payroll over the last three seasons ($93.5 million) – the three highest team payrolls ever — place the Bucs just 24th in the league, better than only six teams. That payroll sinks to $84.98 million average if we use the same five-year attendance period.
When the team boasts about adding salary, most of the additional money is used to retain the same players already under contract. That’s simply the cost of doing business. Here are some of the salary increases from 2013-2015. (Stats)
Neil Walker: $3.30 mill (2013), $5.75 mill (2014), $8 mill (2015).
Andrew McCutchen: $4.5 mill (2013), $7.25 mill (2014), $10 mill (2015).
Mark Melancon: $521,000 (2013), $2.595 mill (2014), $5.4 mill (2015).