Pirates owner Bob Nutting met with a group of reporters today at the Pirates administrative offices at PNC Park. Most of the conversation focused on the successes and failures of the team, what his review has revealed and what changes he intends to make.
Here are the most important takeaways...
*** Nutting said there will be "no scapegoats" for the team's second consecutive collapse. He was angry about the team's failures this season, but the success outweighed the failures and justified keeping the front office mostly intact. But he considered making changes.
"We clearly have a number of things in the organization that have gone right," he said. "As angry and frustrated as we were about August and September, it’s taken me a month to come back and to recognize that last year was still the best season that we’ve had for 20 years and we didn’t get there by accident."
The team has made progress, he said, but still has work to do. That said, Nutting indicated the group might be on a short leash. When asked if they had a vote of confidence for the 2013 season, he said he has never hesitated to make changes at any point in the season.
*** The review is ongoing. Nutting said he has consulted with current and former players, players on other teams, Pirates staff, baseball executives outside the organization, the Commissioner's office and other sports leaders while reviewing his own team. He does not have a timeframe to complete his review but he said he has identified a number of issues within the organization.
"There are no easy answers, no silver bullets," he said.
But Nutting does not intend to micromanage. He said he will continue to trust his management team. Their marching orders have not changed -- build a championship-caliber team.
*** Payroll will grow, organically and by free agent signings. But Nutting did not put a floor or a ceiling on the 2013 payroll number.
*** The military-style training will likely be scaled back. Nutting said the Pirates are not going through boot camp, but he said player safety is important. The team is not a para-military organization. The object is to build baseball players who can compete on the field.
*** Nutting said he would like to employ more scouts who have better instincts/guts/whatever you want to call it who can work in tandem with some of the statistical focus that permeates baseball operations currently.
This post will likely be updated as Bill and I comb through the interview.
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