Two years ago, the MLB Players Association filed a grievance against four teams: the Pirates, Athletics, Marlins, and Rays. The union claimed that the clubs failed to comply with rules regarding how they spend their revenue sharing money.
From 2017 to ’18, the Pirates’ Opening Day payroll declined by $9.5 million, from $86.3 to $74.8 million. The Athletics and Marlins had even bigger declines, but the Pirates have continued to slash payroll. As of right now, they are projected to open the regular season with a payroll of about $51 million. Biertempfel notes that the Pirates’ current payroll is about the same was it was eight years ago and ranks as the third-lowest in baseball.
The MLBPA has filed a second grievance against the Pirates, The Athletic’s Rob Biertempfel reports. While Clark did not specifically address the Pirates when he spoke to Biertempfel, he said, “We view revenue-sharing recipients who remain in that perpetual rebuilding mode as a concern. It’s one area that in collective bargaining we’ll look to increase the club incentives for competitiveness. That’s part of the concern we have had and that we have voiced over the last handful of years, and it will be reflected in our proposals across the table.”
The Pirates have undergone more change at the top, as executive vice president and general manager Neal Huntington was let go, as were president Frank Coonelly and manager Clint Hurdle. They were replaced by Ben Cherington, Travis Williams, and Derek Shelton, respectively. The club did not make many roster upgrades and actually traded away All-Star outfielder Starling Marte. Now a new front office has another grievance on its hands.