Thursday, December 8, 2016

12/8 From the Seventies Forward: Blyleven/Milner Trade, Lieber Signs, Lots of Goodbyes

  • 1977 - The Pirates were part of a Rube Goldberg four-team deal that worked out pretty well for them: The Bucs sent OF Al Oliver and SS Nelson Norman to the Texas Rangers. The Atlanta Braves sent 1B Willie Montanez to the New York Mets. The Texas Rangers sent P Tommy Boggs, P Adrian Devine and OF Eddie Miller to the Atlanta Braves, OF Ken Henderson and OF Tom Grieve to the New York Mets, and P Bert Blyleven to the Pirates. The New York Mets sent P Jon Matlack to the Texas Rangers and 1B/OF John Milner to Pittsburgh. From Pittsburgh’s standpoint, they traded Oliver and Norman for Blyleven and Milner.
John Milner 1979 (photo Getty Images)
  • 1992 - The Barry Bonds era ended after playing seven seasons in Pittsburgh when he signed a FA contract with the San Francisco Giants worth a then-record $43.75M over six years, turning down a five year/$36M offer from the Yankees. Bonds' contract with the called for a $2.5M signing bonus and yearly guarantees of $4M, $4.75M, $7.75M, $8M, $8.25M and $8.5M. His sweeteners were a hotel suite when the team was on the road, bonuses for postseason awards and $500,000 deferred from each year's salary at 9% interest, starting in 1999.
  • 1993 - The dismantling of Jim Leyland’s clubs by the Bucco suits starting making its impact. The Post Gazette wrote that “The Pirates Great Salary Unloading seems to have worked. The MLB Player’s Associated reported that the Pirates fell from eighth to 21st in salary average, dropping from $1,206,012 to $761,073.” The Pirates went into 1993 without Barry Bonds, Doug Drabek, John Smiley, Jose Lind, Neal Heaton, Danny Jackson and Steve Buechele, all who had been on the 1992 roster. Bobby Bonilla had left after the 1991 season; Andy Van Slyke would leave after the 1994 campaign.
  • 1997 - The Pirates and RHP Jon Lieber agreed on a two-year contract worth $3.5M, bypassing his first two arbitration seasons. Lieber had 20 wins between 1996-97 to earn the deal, but after 8-14, 4.11 1998 campaign, he was traded to the Cubs for OF Brant Brown.
Jon Lieber 1994 Fleer Update
  • 2003 - The Bucs declined to offer salary arbitration to a boatload of players: P Julian Tavarez, OF Reggie Sanders, OF Matt Stairs, IF Pat Meares, IF Pokey Reese and IF Jeff Reboulet. None were brought back by the team.
  • 2005 - The Reds traded 1B Sean Casey to the Pirates for LHP David Williams. “The Mayor” (he picked up the title in Cincinnati, where he was so popular he could have been elected mayor) was beset by injuries, but hit .296 with three home runs and 29 RBIs in 59 games for his hometown Bucs (Casey graduated from Upper St Clair HS) before being moved to the Tigers at the deadline. Williams won five games over the next two seasons, had surgery for a herniated disk and never returned to the majors; Casey retired after the 2008 campaign.

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