Pirates' Bob Nutting rated MLB's 4th-worst owner by FanGraphs
Pirates chairman Bob Nutting is the fourth-least popular owner in the majors, according to a poll conducted by FanGraphs.
On a 1 to 5 scale, with five being the best, Nutting drew a rating of 2. He was tied with Baltimore Orioles owner Peter Angelos and ahead of Miami Marlins owner Bruce Sherman and New York Mets owners Saul Katz and Fred Wilpon.
Seventy-one percent of the poll voters rated Nutting as either a "very bad" or "pretty bad" owner. He got "average" ratings from 21 percent.
Jeff Sullivan, who conducts the poll for FanGraphs, noted that Nutting was rated the 11th-best owner just two years ago. Since then, however, the Pirates have had back-to-back losing seasons and traded away Andrew McCutchen and Gerrit Cole.
"I don't think fans have ever loved Bob Nutting," Sullivan wrote on the site. "But you can overlook almost anything when a team is reaching October. When things go off the rails, then the blame starts getting assigned."
This is not the first time Nutting has drawn flak.
In July 2007, six months after Nutting became principal owner, Sports Illustrated ranked him the fifth-worst owner in the majors.
Jon Heyman, who compiled the rankings for SI, said he was swayed when then-general manager Dave Littlefield took reliever Daniel Moskos with the fourth overall pick in the draft.
"(The Pirates) are not trying their hardest," Heyman said. "They're being cheap. It's a cheaper route to begin with, when you go with a long-range plan based on the farm system. But they're taking an even cheaper route on the cheap route.
"I don't blame Littlefield; they don't give him money to work with. They can't expect to win with one of the lowest payrolls in baseball. The owner is very cheap. Cheap owner, cheap team."
A decade later, the Pirates still annually have one of the lowest payrolls in the big leagues.
Rob Biertempfel is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at email@example.com or via Twitter @BiertempfelTrib.