As any Penguins fan could tell you, Wednesday wasn’t the most exciting trade deadline for Pittsburgh’s pro hockey club.
While the two minor deals Pens general manager Ray Shero did pull off should provide value at a discount price, they weren’t enough to make any local puck-loving hearts palpitate.
There were legitimate reasons for the conservative approach, of course. The Penguins are a high-revenue team within the scope of the NHL, with ownership willing to spend right up to the league’s salary cap in pursuit of a championship. Because of that, it was extremely difficult to add much to the payroll. Hence, the Pens will have to wait until the summer to make any major additions.
Looking across town, the Pittsburgh Pirates couldn’t be more different. The Bucs are among MLB’s small-market clubs, and their middling regional TV contract doesn’t help their lot in life. Primary owner Bob Nutting probably could spend more, but he and his partners elect to run the team as a for-profit business, as is their right.
But the Pirates’ success last year did infuse more revenue into their coffers by way of increased attendance at PNC Park, a trend that projects to be even bigger in 2014. Despite this, the Bucs have frustrated a large portion of their fan base by not investing more in the major-league payroll.
However, since the Pirates didn’t go on a free-agent shopping spree, their capacity for adding big-money players during the season is much larger than it has been traditionally. That means Bucs fans may be in for an exciting few months of trade speculation, with Pittsburgh serving as a realistic destination for many assets on the market.
This is assuming the Pirates are able to get themselves in contention by midseason, but if they do, the MLB trade deadline is shaping up to be more thrilling than what we just saw before the NHL roster freeze.
When’s the last time Pittsburgh sports fans could say that?