Mayor would ‘find investors’ if Nutting would sell

Pittsburgh mayor Bill Peduto said in a Reddit AMA (Ask Me Anything) Wednesday that he would help Pirates chairman and owner Robert Nutting find investors if he was interested in selling the team.

In the r/politics thread, user Pechinburger asked if Peduto could "somehow help to wrest control of the Pirates away from Bob Nutting."

Peduto responded: "He would have to want to sell the team. Forbes has listed the value at $1.2B. If he would be interested in selling, I would work to find the investors to meet his required amount."

Forbes currently values the Pirates at $1.275 billion, ranked 20th in baseball.

Nutting has not expressed any public interest in selling the team.

It is not unheard of for city mayors to help professional sports owners find potential investors for a sale. In 2013, Sacramento mayor Kevin Johnson assembled an on-the-fly group of investors to show the NBA and Kings ownership they were interested in keeping the team. Eventual owner Vivek Ranadive was part of that group. In 2014, Atlanta mayor Kasim Reed worked with the NBA to find a new owner for the Hawks.

Later in the AMA, user Steelerspizza asked for the mayor's honest thoughts of Pirates ownership. Said Peduto: "As a fan - I am greatly disappointed. I don't expect they will constantly be in the hunt, but the acceptance of below-mediocre is unacceptable. Some believe my office grants me the authority to challenge the ownership to do better - it doesn't. I have a voice on the lease agreement and the development agreement and neither have any conditions on performance. I believe MLB needs to have a salary floor that requires teams to be competitive and a lowering of the ceiling. My feelings are known by the team. Again, as a fan, I would do anything to see the Pirates in the World Series or NLCS again."

On Sept. 30, Dejan Kovacevic wrote that previous owner Kevin McClatchy promised the Pirates would operate under good faith toward maintaining a competitive payroll within their means in exchange for taxpayer money to fund PNC Park. Section 4.3.3 of the team's lease states: “All financial records of the Team shall be open to inspection and audit of the Authority and its representatives or agents during the lease term and for a period of three years thereafter, which inspection shall occur at the team’s office, following reasonable notice.” Kovacevic addressed the lease again on Oct. 1, after he had exchanged tweets with Peduto.

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