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Pirates President Says Team Looks To Build On Steps Taken In 2018

Coonelly stressed the importance of internal improvement at Major and Minor League levels

October 02, 2018 - 4:37 pm

PITTSBURGH (93.7 The Fan) - For the fourth time since the 1992 season, the Pirates have finished over .500 with a final record of 82-79 and it’s the first time since 1988 the Bucs finished with a winning record and did not make the playoffs.

Pirates President Frank Coonelly joined brother station KDKA Radio’s Morning News Tuesday to talk about the 2018 season and look ahead to 2019.

A lot of experts and fans believe we’ve seen the last of infielders Josh Harrison and Jordy Mercer in black and gold but Coonelly says it’s not a definite that they’ll be gone.

“I suspect each will explore free agency but we certainly won’t close the door on either of those players coming back.”

Coonelly took time to congratulate the Milwaukee Brewers on winning the division and said if they didn’t go on a tear at the end of the year, it would’ve been the Pirates to blame for them not winning the division.

“While had the Brewers number this year we didn’t play nearly well enough against for instance  the National League East and we didn’t play well enough on the road to win,” said Coonelly.

2018 was “a significant step forward” in Coonelly’s opinion for the organization but “obviously at the end not good enough.”

 Looking ahead to 2019, Coonelly says there is “no doubt” that manager Clint Hurdle will be back.

“We’re excited about the team that heads into 2019 but we have a realization that we need to be better. Our goal and objective is to win the World Series and we fell well short of that this year.”

One of the high points for the Pirates in 2018 was the starting pitching featuring Jameson Taillon and Trevor Williams.

Connelly stressed the importance of players like Marte, Moran and Dickerson continuing to improve into next year.

When asked if the team needs to go out and spend money to get a “big bat” in 2019, Coonelly said, “Look at the Oakland A’s this year, they started the season with the lowest payroll in all of Major League Baseball and they ended up winning 98 games. We need to get better and personnel will be part of that solution, but it’s never just about money.”

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