Tuesday, January 17, 2017

1/17: '14 & '15 Arb; Pink for Red; Kip & Josh Sign; HBD Jack & Jeff; Buc Drafts

  • 1895 - The Pirates traded P Red Ehret and cash to the St Louis Browns for P Pink Hawley. Hawley won 71 games for the Pirates in his three year (1895-97) stint with Pittsburgh, becoming one of only three Bucs to win 30 games in a single season, notching 31 victories in 1985, while Ehret would claim just more 35 victories during the remainder of his MLB career. Pink was well compensated for his era - the Pirates paid him $2,400 a year, the maximum salary at the time. According to Dale Voiss of SABR “Emerson was born one of two twins, the other being named Elmer. People had trouble telling the twins apart so the nurse who assisted in their birth pinned a blue ribbon to one and a pink one to the other. This resulted in Emerson being given the middle name Pink, and the brothers were known as Pink and Blue.” He was a hit with the local fans, too. “Hawley earned the nickname ‘Duke of Pittsburgh’ because of his stylish dress and good looks. He was known to wear diamonds and other items of high fashion and developed a reputation similar to that of a matinee idol in Pittsburgh. Later a cigar was named Duke of Pittsburgh after Hawley. Boxes of these cigars featured his picture.”
Pink Hawley (image from Local Leben magazine, 2012)
  • 1922 - 2B Jack Merson was born in Elk Ridge, Maryland. Jack played for the Pirates from 1951-52, regularly during the second season that ended prematurely with a broken wrist. He hit .257 over that span, but he ended up with Boston the next season, where he played one game in 1953, going 0-for-4 to end his MLB days. He started his big league career at 29, and in Boston, the 31-year-old was blocked by bonus baby Billy Consolo. He played for a few more seasons in San Diego (then a minor league club) and then remained there as a businessman and later a prison guard, raising his family.
  • 1964 - LHP Jeff Tabaka was born in Barberton, Ohio. Jeff got a cup off coffee with the Pirates in 1994, moved on and returned again in 1998, when he went 2-2, 3.02. Jeff had the usual itinerary of a journeyman lefty - in his six seasons in the majors he pitched for the Pirates, San Diego Padres, Houston Astros, Cincinnati Reds, and St. Louis Cardinals. Tabaka’s promising career was short-circuited by injuries; he had a pair of TJ surgeries to overcome. At last look, he was coaching at the Strike Zone Academy in North Canton, Ohio.
  • 1970 - The Pirates selected players through the 28th round of the player draft, going nine rounds deeper than any other club, and came up with exactly no one who made it to the majors. LHP Alan Jackson of Northeastern State was their top pick (14th overall); he declined to sign and was instead selected by the Red Sox in the June draft. He topped out a Class AA. The January draft was a secondary feeder. Its pool consisted of high school players who graduated early, JC/community college athletes, and players who opted out of four-year colleges.
Alex Cole was the only keeper from 1984 (1993 Donruss)
  • 1984 - The Pirates drafted pitcher Gil Heredia first, but the righty from Pima CC didn’t sign. He went pro three years later, albeit as a ninth-round pick of the Giants. He made up for lost bonus money by carving out a 10 year MLB career. Light hitting OF Alex Cole was also selected that year. The best pick was in the secondary phase when the Bucs took OF Jay Buhner, who ended up swatting 310 HR in 15 big league seasons after being traded to the Yankees.
  • 2005 - RHP Josh Fogg inked a one-year/$2,150,000 deal with the Bucs to avoid his first year of arbitration. Fogg went 6-11/5.05 during the ensuing campaign and was non-tendered, ending up with Colorado in 2007. Craig Wilson agreed to a one year/$3M contract the next day and also avoided arbitration. He ended up playing only 59 games during the year as a result of hand injuries that landed him on the DL twice.
  • 2006 - The Bucs signed RHP Kip Wells to a one-year, $4.15M contract, avoiding arbitration. Kip only lasted to the deadline, going 1-5 with a 6.69 ERA before being dealt away to the Texas Rangers for Jesse Chavez. Wells, a former first-round draft pick of the White Sox in 1998, pitched for nine teams in 12 seasons with a career slash of 69-103-2/4.78 ERA.
The Fort missed the cut (photo Rob Foldy/USA Today)
  • 2014 - The Pirates signed five players to one-year deals - 2B Neil Walker, 3B Pedro Alvarez, P Mark Melancon, 1B Gaby Sanchez and P Vin Mazzaro - to avoid arbitration. They had previously reached agreements with arb-eligible P Charlie Morton, OF Travis Snider and C Chris Stewart, and non-tendered 1B Garrett Jones, C Mike McKenry, and OF Felix Pie to close out a king-sized 2014 arbitration class.
  • 2015 - The Pirates had a MLB-high dozen players eligible for arbitration: Pedro Alvarez, Neil Walker, Mark Melancon, Josh Harrison, Tony Watson, Francisco Cervelli, Jared Hughes, Travis Snider, Antonio Bastardo, Chris Stewart, Vance Worley and Sean Rodriguez, after previously releasing arb-eligible players Ike Davis, Gaby Sanchez, John Axford, Jeanmar Gomez and Chaz Roe. Nine signed one-year deals; Walker, Alvarez, and Worley opted to take the arbitration route. Walker lost his case; Alvarez and Worley won their hearings.

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