Pirates' Nutting ranked among worst owners
PHILADELPHIA - Bob Nutting has only been on the job as the Pirates' principal owner since January. But he already made one national baseball writer's list of the worst owners in baseball.
Jon Heyman, who writes The Daily Scoop for SI.com, ranks Nutting as the fifth-worst owner in the majors.
Nutting was listed behind David Glass of the Kansas City Royals, Peter Angelos of the Baltimore Orioles, Carl Pohlad of the Minnesota Twins and Charlie Monfort of the Colorado Rockies.
"I felt a little bit bad about it, because he was just installed as the owner," Heyman said. "But he was part of (Kevin McClatchy's) group, and they didn't do so well. That's not a good sign. So I'm not going to feel too bad about it."
Heyman laughed when he read Nutting's recent remarks about stocking the Pirates' roster with players from the farm system. And he did a double-take when he saw the team select relief pitcher Daniel Moskos with the fourth overall pick in the 2007 draft.
"They threw away the one advantage they won by stinking," Heyman said. "When you draft a relief pitcher, basically it cuts off your chances of getting a superstar, unless you've drafted Marino Rivera's younger brother. Why not pick someone with a high ceiling and pay the money• They're very, very cheap."
That's evidence, Heyman said, that Nutting plans to continue a disturbing trend from the McClatchy years.
"They're 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.
"When you're that cheap, you've got to make it up by being brilliant -- and they don't have Billy Beane running the team. I don't blame (general manager Dave) 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."
The way Heyman's looks at it, the best way to judge an owner is by the size of his payroll.
Heyman's list of the best owners in the game includes Arte Moreno of the Los Angeles Angels, George Steinbrenner of the New York Yankees and John Henry of the Boston Red Sox.
What do those guys have in common• They run large-market teams with big-time payrolls. Heyman's "worst" list is made up of small-market owners.
On-field success is not a requirement for membership in Heyman' "best" list. His top eight includes San Francisco's Peter Magowan, who is paying millions to Barry Bonds and an aging supporting cast but doesn't have any World Series rings to show for it.
The lone small-market guy on the "best" list is Mark Attanasio of the Milwaukee Brewers. Heyman gave Attanasio props for doling out $42 million to land free-agent pitcher Jeff Suppan.
"Look at what the Brewers' owner is doing," Heyman said. "He looks like he really wants to win. That's the kind of guy they need in Pittsburgh -- a guy who wants to win, not a guy who wants to pocket money."
With McClatchy stepping down as chief executive officer at the end of the season, Nutting must hire a replacement. Heyman is not confident Nutting will choose someone with hands-on baseball experience.
"If a numbers cruncher is all he wants, why not just buy a calculator?" Heyman said.
Haves and have nots
Jon Heyman's rankings of the best and worst owners in baseball:
The top five 1. Arte Moreno, Los Angeles Angels 2. John Henry, Boston Red Sox 3. Mike Ilitch, Detroit Tigers 4. George Steinbrenner, New York Yankees 5. Fred Wilpon, New York Mets
The bottom five 1. David Glass, Kansas City Royals 2. Peter Angelos, Baltimore Orioles 3. Carl Pohlad, Minnesota Twins 4. Charlie Monfort, Colorado Rockies 5. Bob Nutting, Pirates