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Pirates owner Bob Nutting supports international draft, talks Neil Walker extension

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

A few highlights from Bob Nutting's chat with reporters today:

-P- Nutting is in favor of an international draft:

One of the most important things for the Pittsburgh Pirates will always be access to talent. And so whether that’s the amateur draft, whether it would be an international draft, which I think would be very good for the Pittsburgh Pirates, finding a way to level that playing field ...

It's not surprising that he'd feel this way, particularly in light of the Red Sox' recent signing of Yoan Moncada and the fact that the Red Sox and Yankees appeared to be the top two bidders for him.

-P- On an extension for Neil Walker:

Certainly Neil’s been an important part of this club and I have a tremendous respect and appreciation for everything that Neil has done and look forward to seeing him as a Pittsburgh Pirate this year and hopefully for many years to come.

The Pirates aren't likely to sign Walker. He's going to have his one big shot at a contract coming up here in two years, so he shouldn't be overly motivated to sign an extension. The Pirates shouldn't be overly motivated to offer one, either, given that Walker isn't far from turning 30, already has injury issues, and will likely have to move to a new position in the next couple years.

-P- Nutting is in favor of increased statistics and graphics in broadcasts:

Whether it’s additional information, statistics during the broadcast itself, seeing some of the sprays of where individual players and hitters have put balls, seeing how that lines up against our pitchers. ...

I think if you look at what the NFL has done. Simple things like putting a first-down line on the field. Didn’t exist 20 years ago. ... Our broadcasts still look much the same as they did 15 years ago and I think we have an opportunity really to push forward.

I hadn't considered this issue before, but it's interesting. If done well (and given the way statistics have been used in game broadcasts over the years, I'm a little skeptical), information like this could either add a lot of valuable context to broadcasts, or make them very disjointed and difficult to watch.

-P- On the Pirates' ability to add payroll during the season:

We’ve always had a certain amount of ability to maneuver. It’s important for us to be able to do that. At the same time, ultimately it’s never really about the total dollars but how intelligently and effectively we can allocate those dollars throughout the organization.

No specifics here, which of course is what we'd expect. As much as total payroll really is an issue here, though, the Pirates probably have earned a certain amount of leeway with their deadline performance in particular by trading for players like Derrek Lee, Ryan Ludwick, Wandy Rodriguez, Marlon Byrd and Justin Morneau in recent years.