Pirates Draft: Draft Pool Controversy Simplified

Over at SB Nation, talk has been running non stop about the recent confusion over the Pirates Draft Pool. The draft pool is an allot pool of money for teams to use in singing bonuses for players based off Free Agency compensation as well as the draft position for each team (ie first overall picking team gets $7.2 million added to their pool).

For the Pirates, drafting at eighth overall means that that Pirates’ biggest chunk of money comes in the form of $2.9 million that is awarded to this pick. What really caught Pirates fans off guard when news broke that the Pirates were allotted $6.5 million was that Frank Coonelly’s take on the process via this interview. Coonelly said that he beleived that Pittsburgh’s pool would have been about $10 million. Granted at this point, Derek Lee has not yet signed, but there is no way he would fetch a $4.3 million addition to the pool.

For years Pirates fan watched David Littlefield and wondered if he knew what he was doing. The recent news and interview makes some wonder if Coonelly does either. There is the likely scenario that Coonelly was talking about the entire draft budget and not just the top few spots, but it appears as if Coonelly really was WAAAY off in his number crunching.

For Pirate fans, news like this doesn’t help when the organization is building through the draft and must consistently take money into consideration when trying to woo an 18 year old top pick to go play rookie ball as opposed to staring on a college team paying him to get a degree and play ball.

This news isn’t the end of the world, but it should put more of a microscope on Coonelly and his management of the team. The Pirates will once again have a very small payroll (estimated $42 million)  but with Garrett Cole, James Tallion, and Sterling Marte all coming up, it may be time to consider this number be bumped up. Coonelly’s money management skills will only further make the chance of resigning Andrew McCutchen look hazier.

We’ll see what happens here, but the bottom line is that this is sounding eerily similar to the days of old rather than “turning the corner.”

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