Frank Coonelly says the Pirates will be a better option for free agents this offseason than they've been in the past.
"We couldn't in the past with a straight face say that you would have a legitimate shot if you came to Pittsburgh. But after 94 wins and what we did at the end of the season, we can legitimately say that to players. So I think the reception that we'll receive out there, not only from our peers but most importantly players that we're trying to entice to come to Pittsburgh or stay in Pittsburgh, it's meaningful."
The "couldn't in the past with a straight face say" line is funny, since part of Coonelly's job each year has involved faking optimism about the Pirates' chances. Anyway, signing free agents has been difficult for the Pirates in the past, to the point where, in 2009, reliever Will Ohman turned down a big-league deal with the Bucs so that he could sign a minor-league deal with the Dodgers. Not every player would do something so extreme, of course, and usually, the main consideration is money. But perceived ability to win is also a factor, and it's nice that the Pirates will have that on their side this offseason.