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Frank Coonelly: Not Looking To Win Payroll Contests

PITTSBURGH (KDKA 93-7 The Fan) - Pirates president Frank Coonelly joined Dan Zangrilli Saturday morning on Bucco Talk. Zangrilli asked if having a $100 million payroll is a benchmark for the organization.

"No, it's not a benchmark for us. We're looking to win championships, we're looking to win divisions. We're not looking to win payroll contests. But Major League payrolls are going up, and in order to be a competitive team over a longer period of time, you have to have a competitive payroll. It won't be a payroll here in Pittsburgh in the top five, but it certainly is becoming a more competitive payroll as our roster has matured," Coonelly said.

Coonelly was asked about Neil Walker's future with the organization.

"The best opportunity to reach mutually acceptable agreements are when the parties talk about them privately and don't talk about them publicly. So with that, what I can say is, we are, as Neal Huntington said, very interested in having Neil Walker continue his career in Pittsburgh," Coonelly said.

Coonelly added that discussions have taken place this offseason.

How important is it to the organization to make sure that Andrew McCutchen is a Pirate for his entire career?

"All I can say is I'd love to see Andrew McCutchen wear a Pittsburgh Pirates uniform for his entire career, and I hope that career be as long as possible," Coonelly said.

There is a new Major League Baseball commissioner this season as Rob Manfred takes over for Bud Selig. What challenges does he face?

"First and foremost, continue to work and work and work and improve the competitive balance landscape of the game. Bud Selig was committed to that proposition, Rob I know is committed to it as well, and obviously here in Pittsburgh it's something that we're very passionate about," Coonelly said.

Coonelly added that Manfred also needs to make the game even more relevant to the younger generation of fans.

Pitchers and catchers report to spring training Feb. 19, and Coonelly said that the organization has been waiting for that day since the season ended.

"We've been excited to go to Bradenton from the last out of that wild card game. A lot of work has gone into the offseason," Coonelly said.

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