MILWAUKEE -- Major League Baseball Commissioner Allan H. "Bud" Selig said he is convinced that the Pirates are moving in the right direction and that he had no issue with the contents of the club's financial statements made public earlier this week. "I evaluate everything that goes on, and people tell me the kids that they're [drafting and] signing are good," Selig said. "I know there's frustration, and I understand that and I'm not unsympathetic. But I really think they're on the right track." The Pirates have clinched their 18th consecutive losing season, the longest such streak in professional sports. But they have invested heavily in scouting and player development in recent years and used the First-Year Player Draft to acquire some promising, high-cost talent like infielder Pedro Alvarez and 2010 first- and second-round picks Jameson Tallion and Stetson Allie, both right-handed pitchers with power arsenals. The Pirates also made an international splash this summer by signing Mexican right-hander Luis Heredia, reportedly for $2.6 million.
Earlier this week, incomplete financial statements from six clubs -- including Pittsburgh's -- were leaked, showing that, absent considerable key expenditures, the Pirates made more than $34 million in profits from 2007-2009. Anticipating that disclosure, Pirates officials gave four media outlets unprecedented access to the club's books and majority owner Bob Nutting said, "I know we're acting honorably. I know we're acting in the best interest of the Pittsburgh Pirates baseball club. I know we're making good decisions that are going to help us create a winning organization." Major League Baseball is investigating the source of the leaked documents. Selig said he had no issue with the contents of the Pirates' reports. He met with officials from the Players' Association about six months ago regarding Pittsburgh's spending of revenue-sharing dollars and said, "they left satisfied." "Let me say this to you: We constantly check everything," Selig said. "The Players' Association has all of the numbers. You have to look at the long view of numbers, you can't look just at a year or two. That's the mistake some people are making. Am I satisfied with everything that's gone on? I've said that the system needs to be tweaked here and there. But overall, the system was set up to achieve competitive balance, and so with the Cincinnati Reds, the San Diego Padres, Minnesota Twins, Texas Rangers, and we could go on and on, what it's proven is that this has led to more competitive balance than we've ever had. Am I satisfied the system is working? Yes. Do I think it's absolutely perfect? No. But that's the only comment I have on the numbers." Selig was asked whether he would like to see the Pirates increase payroll for 2011. "That's up to them, but I read already where they said they would," Selig said. "People can talk about money, but they've spent a lot of money on scouting, a lot of money on player development. The frustration levels, I understand it from the fans' standpoint. But it takes time to show. I'm satisfied that they are making good progress right now." Of the release of the financial statements, Selig said, "I would rather it was not done. It was not done properly. It's sad, in a way, that people violate confidences. I know that I would not do that and I know that baseball would never do that. You give somebody your word about something, that's the way it's supposed to be. "That said, the Players' Association has our numbers, everybody around us has our numbers. There were no surprises in the game or the Players' Association."
Adam McCalvy is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.