Follow NewsRadio 1020 KDKA: Facebook | Twitter

PITTSBURGH (NewsRadio 1020 KDKA) – To say fans are upset about the Pittsburgh Pirates trading Andrew McCutchen would be an understatement.

READ MORE: Brashear High School Student Charged In Fight That Sent Teen To Hospital

An online petition calling for Major League Baseball to force owner Bob Nutting to sell the team has more than 55,500 signatures in a week.

Pirates President Frank Coonelly tells the “KDKA Morning News” he understands why Pirates fans are angry.

“We respect and honor our fans emotions and they have been running high and for good reason. Andrew McCutchen will go down as one of the greatest all-time Pittsburgh Pirates,” said Coonelly.

READ MORE: Penguins Forward Teddy Blueger Undergoes Surgery For Fractured Jaw

While it is painful for the fans and organization, Coonelly says it was a necessary.

“I want the fans to know that the decision was made for all of the right reasons and it was made in order to build a winner for them,” said Coonelly.

While Coonelly understands the anger and frustration fans have, he says the personal attacks on Nutting are wrong.

“This decision was made by our baseball operations team. In fact, Bob [Nutting] was the last one to get on board because he knows what Andrew McCutchen means to the city of Pittsburgh and to our great fans,” said Huntington. “But he came on board because he was being told by myself, [General Manager] Neal Huntington and the baseball team that, as great as [McCutchen] is, we need to get better and this is one of the avenues that we can get better.”

MORE NEWS: Pa. Liquor Control Board Hosting Rare Whiskey Auction

Listen to the “KDKA Morning News” with Larry Richert and John Shumway weekdays from 5 to 9 a.m. on NewsRadio 1020 KDKA.