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Pirates' payroll likely to exceed $90 million in 2015

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Frank Coonelly says the Pirates' payroll is likely to exceed $90 million in 2015, Dejan Kovacevic reports. The payroll for the Bucs' current roster projects to be a little over $70 million (including salaries for arbitration-eligible players), so they should have a significant amount to spend, and Kovacevic reports that they will aim to spend a big chunk of that money on starting pitching, possibly re-signing both Francisco Liriano and Edinson Volquez.

As Kovacevic notes, even $90 million is arguably too low a payroll. But it would still be the Pirates' largest payroll ever. By MLB's accounting, the Bucs spent $82.1 million last year. (That's not the Opening Day figure, but rather the total amount spent on players on their 40-man roster.) They've modestly increased their payroll in every season since 2010. The 2010 and 2011 payrolls were certainly artificially low because the Bucs didn't expect to contend in either season, but they have, at least, taken gradual steps forward since then. Whether those gradual steps are enough is open to debate.