Notes from Coonelly's Chat

The full transcript usually doesn't go up until a little later in the day, so here are some highlights while reading it live:

On Managers: When asked what particular traits he's looking for, Coonelly stressed the ability to teach and instill confidence.  He also used the word "relentless" three times in his answer.

Asked why the search has taken so long he said they wanted to make sure they interviewed all of the right candidates and that they were waiting to interview Clint Hurdle.  He didn't come right out and say it, but it sounded like Hurdle may be the final interview.  He is scheduled to come to Pittsburgh tomorrow, and a decision will be made soon.

On the offseason: Priority #1 is to improve the starting pitching.  They will pursue pitchers in both free agency and trade this offseason with the hopes of adding at least one starter, possibly more.  The market isn't particularly strong, though, so they will also have to bank on improved results from players they already have.  He specifically mentioned Paul Maholm, Ross Ohlendorf, and James McDonald as if they had spots nearly locked down and Charlie Morton and Brad Lincoln were called possibilities.  Also said they expect all of the starters on the team to be pushed hard by Bryan Morris, Rudy Owens, Jeff Locke, and Justin Wilson.  Notably absent from the entire conversation was Zach Duke.

Another priority for the offseason will be to improve the infield defense, which they have identified as a weakness.  Didn't mention any specifics on whether players could be moving around, just that they'll look to upgrade through the free agent/trade market or with internal options.

Joel Hanrahan and Evan Meek are seen as potential closers, but the team will look for bullpen upgrades, and there's a chance they could bring in another veteran closer like they did last year.

On a financial note, when asked specifically if payroll could increase to $50 million he said they have the ability to go above $50 million, but only if the right players are out there.

On Minor Leaguers: Mentions that one or more members of the Altoona rotation from this year will likely force his way onto the major league team at some point in 2011.  On the position player side, Alex Presley has put himself in position to compete for a spot.  Also says there are some exciting young bullpen arms who could end up on the MLB roster, but doesn't name names.  Other position players are seen as a year away, but performance could push them there sooner.  Names he mentioned were Tony Sanchez, Starling Marte, Josh Harrison, Chase D'Arnaud, Jordy Mercer, and Andrew Lambo.

This is a FanPost and does not necessarily reflect the views of the managing editor (Charlie) or SB Nation. FanPosts are written by Bucs Dugout readers.

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