Here's a good story from Ken Davidoff on Frank Coonelly's role in developing a plan that led to big changes in the posting system that governs signings of key Japanese players. Under the previous system, a team would pay a posting fee -- which was not included in luxury-tax calculations -- to have exclusive negotiations with a player. With the player then effectively off the market, the team could pay him a smaller salary.
Now, thanks in part to Coonelly, any team can just offer to pay the capped $20 million posting fee to negotiate with a star like Masahiro Tanaka, and then bid against other teams. The effect is that posting fees for top players will decrease, and their salaries will increase. The salaries count against the luxury tax, which is unfavorable to a team like the Yankees, who have been trying to get below the $189 million luxury tax threshold.
The funny thing is that the Pirates were never going to be serious bidders for Tanaka, or any player like him. But Coonelly inserting himself into the process led to a policy that ensures that if a team with luxury-tax issues signs a player like Tanaka, it's going to hurt. It's good for teams who aren't the Yankees, which means it's good for the Pirates.