According to figures from the Commissioner's Office, the Pirates finished 2008 with a payroll of $50.8 million. The club budgeted for a slight increase in that payroll for 2009 and has not changed that figure.
Coonelly also confirmed that there are no plans to cut back on the budgets for the amateur draft or international signing bonuses. Both of those budgets have seen significant increases since Coonelly assumed his post in September 2007.
"I think you've heard us talk ad nauseum about how important those are for us and how critical those investments are to our clubs," Coonelly said. "We got good return on those investments last year. That's an area where we have to be putting our resources."
I don't know that Coonelly has ever specifically addressed this issue, and it's good news to hear him say that the increased spending on the draft and Latin America in 2008 will not be aberrations.