PITTSBURGH (93-7 The FAN) – With the New York Yankees signing 25-year-old Japanese star Masahiro Tanaka to a 7-year $155 million deal, Pirates President Frank Coonelly joined Starkey and Mueller to discuss what deals like this say to the small market teams that couldn’t dream of signing a player like this.

Coonelly used the Tanaka signing to reassure Pirates fans that the organization was headed in the right direction and will some day be able to compete for players signing nine-figure contracts.

“The Pittsburgh Pirates will sign a $100 million contract at some point,” Coonelly said.  “I just can’t tell you when.”

When it comes to the signing of Tanaka by the Yankees, Coonelly told us his time working as part of the league’s labor relations group has prepared him to see these type of contracts.

“I’m kind of immune to these deals,” Coonelly said.  “Not surprised, not shocked, not appalled.  Maybe I should be all of those things, but I’m not.  These types of contracts have been signed at different levels, but still having the same type of reaction of that shocking, the world is changing, since Nolan Ryan or Dave Parker signed the first million dollar contract shortly after free agency came in 1976.”

Coonelly also talked about the TV contracts that are allowing for these major deals to be signed and where the Pirates stack up.

Coonelly told the guys due to a confidentiality agreement signed, he is unable to discuss the exact terms of the deals but reveals that while the team is in the 27th or 28th market in Major League Baseball, their deal ranks well above that.

You can hear the rest of the interview with Coonelly below:

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