Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Catchin' Up on the News

Solly Torres hung 'em up, leaving $3.75M on the table for 2009, telling the Brew Crew that he wants to be a full-time daddy.

Torres, a devout Jehovah's Witness, said he wanted to devote more time to his wife Belkis and three children, Ashley, Allison, and Jordan, as well as his faith. Retirement was a road he was an inch away from taking after he was traded by Pittsburgh to Milwaukee last season.

But his daughters talked him into pitching another year. As Torres told Adam McCalvy of, he sat down and asked the family for feedback. His daughters, 6-year-old Ashley and 4-year-old Allison, asked where they would be going.

"I said, Milwaukee. You know those racing sausages? That's where," he said. The girls went wild. "That was the big selling point," he said with a laugh.

But they can't talk him out of leaving the game now.

"It's time for me to dedicate more time to my family and my religion," Torres told the Brewers' Blog. "Doug (Melvin) was very understanding, which I appreciate. I had a wonderful experience in Milwaukee but he knows I am serious about it."

The rubber armed 36-year old Dominican appeared in 94 games for the Bucs in 2006, and was briefly the closer when Gonzo was shipped to Atlanta, losing out eventually to Matt Capps.

In 14 big league seasons (6 with the Pirates) his career line was 44-58-57 with a 4.31 ERA in 497 games, covering 847-1/3 innings of work. Salomon was a class act, even with the bit of mess regarding his academy at the end with Littlefield, and baseball will miss him.

Torres e-mailed this message to Pirates fans via the Post Gazette's Dejan Kovacevic, saying "Thank you for for all the support you gave me and my family. It was great getting to know so many people here in Pittsburgh." He says he'll stay in his Ohio Township home, so Solly did connect with the Steel City.

As we said, a class act.

Damaso Marte ended up being treated OK by the evil empire, after all.

The New York Yankees announced today that they have signed the 33-year old LHP to a three-year contract worth a reported $12M with a club option for 2012.

In 72 relief appearances with the Pirates and Yankees in 2008, he was 5-3 with a 4.02 ERA, holding opponents to a .214 batting average (52-for-243).

He made 25 appearances with the Yankees, going 1-3 with a 5.40 ERA, but allowed just 2 earned runs over his final 16 appearances and held the opposition to a .135 batting average over that stretch.

It seems that Marte hadn't lost it when he switched leagues, but just had a touch of elbow irritation when he hit the Big Apple. That's no big surprise, as over the last five years, Marte owns the fourth-most appearances among MLB pitchers, averaging over 70 outings per season. He's always been a guy that wants the ball.

Among left-handed relievers in the majors over the same span, he ranks second in appearances and fourth in strikeouts, with 307.

Hey, guess what - Neal Huntington has brought in another special assistant. Barack Obama doesn't have as many aides. The latest suit is Joe Ferrone.

Ferrone, 42, worked in the Pirates organization as a West Coast area scout in 2003. He's spent the past five seasons working as a West Coast regional crosschecker for the Tigers. Ferrone's also held various scouting positions with the Expos in 1993-94 and the Dodgers from 1995 to 2002.

The new guys are keeping their word about building from within; all their recent hires have a heavy helping of scouting cred piled high on their resumes.

NL Notes: Tim Lincecum romped to the Cy Young Award. The 24-year old RHP of the Giants was 18-5 with a 2.62 ERA and a MLB high 265 strikeouts...Sweet Lou Pinella of the Cubs was named Manager of the Year...Trenni Kusnierek, formerly of FSN Pittsburgh, was hired as a reporter for the new MLB Network, which will air starting in 2009.


WilliamJPellas said...

Torres is one of those guys whose career numbers really don't tell just how good he was. He had some personal problems early in his career that led to him being entirely out of organized professional baseball for several years. When he returned, he was a much better pitcher. Other than his last season in Pittsburgh---in which he was still effective more often than not---his last six seasons were very good. He was definitely one of the better relievers in all of baseball, and he was without question one of the most reliable and heavily used.

I never did completely understand how the dispute with Dave Littlefield went down, but you can bet I'd side with Torres rather than DL if I had to pick the culprit. In any case, he's on to the rest of his life now, and he'll be missed.

Ron Ieraci said...

Yah, Will, he was miscast as a closer, but his work as a bridge guy for the Pirates was really quite good. When he and Marte were in the pen, they'd eat up 130 or 140 appearances a year, and they'd keep you in the game. Can't ask for much more. And they were both good citizens, too.
The Bucs aren't in a competitive position as a team to spend $8M on a pair of set up guys, but throw in Gonzo/Capps and they were money as a late inning trio.

WilliamJPellas said...

I'm not sure Torres was entirely miscast as a closer. He did very well at the end of 2006 after Mike Gonzalez got hurt, and again in his last season, 2008. He had a sore elbow in his last year with the Pirates, which was 2007. While he was not a "true" closer, he'd do in a pinch, and he was better than many others who have tried to pitch in that role.