Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Minor Trade for Chris McGuiness, Notes, Clemente Crash...

Happy New Years! Be Safe Tonight.

  • The Pirates have traded for 1B Chris McGuiness, 25, from Texas and sent RHP Miles Mikolas (part of the Alex Dickerson trade with SD) to the Rangers. McGuiness made his MLB debut with Texas in 2013, and in 34 at-bats, he struck out 13 times while hitting .176. In a five year minor league career, the lefty actually walked more than he whiffed, putting up a .372 OBP to go with a pedestrian .257 BA. He was recently DFA'ed for Shin-Soo Choo, blocked in Texas by Prince Fielder and Mitch Moreland. Maybe the FO is tired of the Ike Davis game and is willing to go with McGuiness, Andrew Lambo or Travis Ishikawa as Gaby's dance partner...plus whoever else they can reel in.
  • Jason Parks tweets that the Pirates will have seven prospects in the upcoming Baseball Prospectus Top 101 Prospects, making them one of the top stocked MLB organizations. (No names yet; that will have to wait until release).
  •  Zach Morrison of Rant Sports defends the acquisition of C Chris Stewart because, though a minor deal, it provided depth at a position the Pirates were thin at organizationally.
  • Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe writes that Johan Santana, who missed last season, is getting to close to making a decision as to which club he'll sign with this season. The Pirates are one of the teams associated with him.
  • Howard Megdal of Sports on Earth has a New Year's Resolution for every team. His wish for Pittsburgh is that Ray Searage gets a well-deserved raise.
  • December 31, 1884 - 3B Bobby Byrne was born in St. Louis. The pint sized (5-7, 145) scrapper played five seasons for the Pirates (1909-13) and hit .277 with 97 stolen bases in Pittsburgh. He was acquired late in 1909 and helped the Bucs to their World Series title against the Tigers.
  • December 31, 1972 - The day that baseball died: Roberto Clemente, 38, was killed when his plane, on a humanitarian trip to Managua, crashed in the Atlantic while on the rescue mission.

Monday, December 30, 2013

12/29-30: Clyde Barnhardt, Emil Brown, Jack Wilson, Jim Viox & the Babe (Dahlgren, that is)...

Clyde Barnhardt, Emil Brown, Jack Wilson, Jim Viox & the Babe (Dahlgren, that is)...

  • December 29, 1895 - OF Clyde Barnhart was born in Buck Valley, PA. He spent his entire career (1920-28) with the Pirates, starting as a third baseman and moving to the outfield. In 814 games, he hit .295, batting over .300 five of his nine campaigns. Barnhart played on two World Series teams and hit .273 with nine RBI in 11 Fall Classic games. Clyde played his college ball at Cumberland Valley State Normal School, now known as Shippensburg University of Pennsylvania. 
  • December 29, 1974 - OF Emil Brown was born in Chicago. Brown started his career as a Pirate, playing in Pittsburgh from 1997-2001, but could never hit his way into the lineup, with a .205 BA as a Buc. 
  • December 29, 1977 - Jack Wilson was born in Westlake Village, California. He played SS for the Bucs from 2001-09, hitting .269. He was named to the All-Star team and won a Silver Slugger in 2004. The slick fielder (he led MLB in PO, assists and DPs 2004-05) collected 201 hits that year, the franchise's first player since Dave Parker (1977) and the first Pirate shortstop since Honus Wagner (1908) to reach the 200-knock mark. 

Jack Wilson from Pirates.com

  • December 29, 2013 - The Steelers were eliminated from the post-season on this day. It was the first year since 1991 that the Pirates made the playoffs but the Steelers didn't.
  • December 30, 1890 - IF Jim Viox was born in Lockland, Ohio. Viox played from 1912-16, starting at second base from 1913-15. His five year career was spent as a Bucco, and he put up a .272 lifetime BA. In 1913, Viox hit .317, setting a rookie record for batting average by a second basemen that wasn’t equalled until 2007 by Dusty Pedroia. The Buc infielder had a good eye, drawing 100 more walks during his MLB time than strikeouts, and finished with a .361 OBP.
  • December 30, 1943 - The Phillies traded 1B Babe Dahlgren to the Pirates for C Babe Phelps and cash. Dahlgren hit .271 with 176 RBI in his two year stay with the Bucs. “Well traveled” described him to a tee as he played for eight teams in his 12 year career. The ex-Yankee was best known as the player who replaced Lou Gehrig in 1939. Phelps never played again after the deal.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Notes & News

As we head into New Years...
  • Despite a big price tag and the cost of the first round draft pick, Mike Axisa of CBS' Eye on Baseball thinks Nelson Cruz would be a fit in Pittsburgh.
  • Andrew Lambo didn't do much to improve his stock in the Dominican Winter League. According to John Dreker of Pirates Prospects, he finished the campaign with a .228/.311/.337 slash line in 27 games with six doubles, two triples, no homers and 17 RBI. Lambo drew 11 walks and struck out 28 times in 92 at-bats.
  • No, AJ hasn't made a decision, but Jake Dal Porto of Beyond the Box Score examines how his sinker became his salvation in Pittsburgh. Outside Pitch looks at Burnett's market if he decides to play the field.
  • Saber Bucs makes the argument that Brian Giles may be the best hitter by the numbers in Pirate history.
  • Ex Bucs: The Beanball wants to know where the love for Paul Maholm is?
  • The things you run across on Facebook: Old Forbes Field with the Cathedral of Learning as a backdrop beyond the bleachers...

Saturday, December 28, 2013

12/27-28: Jim Tobin, John Milner, Klu, Zane Smith, Charlie Hayes...

Jim Tobin, John Milner, Klu, Zane Smith, Charlie Hayes...

December 27, 1912 - RHP Jim Tobin was born in Oakland, California. Tobin spent his first three seasons (1937-39) as a Pirate, going 29-24 with a 3.71 ERA, before being traded to Boston, where he would spend the majority of his nine-year career.
December 28, 1949 - John Milner was born in Atlanta. “The Hammer” was a platoon 1B/OF and pinch hitter for five years (1978-82) in Pittsburgh, hitting .263 with a .333 BA in the 1979 World Series.
December 28, 1957 - The Pirates swapped first basemen with the Reds. Pittsburgh acquired Ted Kluszewski, known for wearing cut-off sleeves to show off his guns, and Cincinnati received seven year veteran Dee Fondy in return. Neither got much; Klu’s power days were behind him, and Fondy spent just one more season in MLB.

 Topps 1959 series

December 28, 1960 - LHP Zane Smith was born in Madison, Wisconsin. Smith came to the Bucs in 1990 in the Moises Alou deal with Montreal. He pitched well down the stretch in ‘90 and won 16 games in ‘91. Zane tossed five years (1990-94, 1996) for the Buccos, with a 47-41/3.35 line.
December 28, 1995 - IF Charlie Hayes was signed as a FA by the Bucs to a deal worth $1.75M and flipped at the deadline to the New York Yankees for a minor leaguer.

Holiday Week Notes

Some holiday notes and news...

  • The Mets have unsuccessfully tried to get Oriole pitcher Eduardo Rodriguez, the Birds' #3 prospect,  for Ike Davis. They're still talking to the Pirates (who won't surrender Nick Kingham), Brewers (who won't give up Tyler Thornburg) and O's, according to Mike Puma of the NY Post. They're lucky there's a market at all for him - first base is a bare cupboard - after Davis hit .205 last year and .227 in 2012, and the team has all but announced Lucas Duda will be their 2014 first baseman.
  • Buster Olney of ESPN picks the top ten rotations in MLB; the Pirates are fifth (behind a subscription wall). 
  • Saber Bucs has a Jose Tabata/Roberto Clemente comparison through their age 24 seasons. Pretty close, tho JT is gonna have to pick up his game over the next decade to stay in the park.
  • Tyler Kepner of the New York Times writes a post-season feel good piece about the Buccos' 2013 resurgence. In a similar vein, Will Graves of the Associated Press calls the Pirate turnaround the Pennsylvania sports story of the year.
  • Michael Clair of MLB Daily Dish posts "Last year, a number of things had to break right for the Pirates to reach the NLDS. They'll need to count on that kind of luck again."
  • Pirate owner Bob Nutting has been selected as the local Newsmaker of the Year by the Pittsburgh Business Times
  • Ex Bucs: The Cubs agreed to terms with pitcher Jose Veras on a one-year contract with $4M guaranteed and an option year.
  • Richard Justice of MLB.com warns hot stovers to tighten their seat belts; the bidding on RHP Masahiro Tanaka "could get insane." Joe Luica of The Outside Corner rates the various teams' interest for Tanaka. He thinks the Bucco thermometer is low. 

Friday, December 27, 2013

12/26: Mendoza Line, Danny O'Connell, Jeff King, Hanny Trade

Mendoza Line, Danny O'Connell, Jeff King, Hanny Trade...

1950 - IF Mario Mendoza was born in Chihuahua, Mexico. In five seasons (1974-78) with the Pirates, the reserve infielder put up a .204 BA. About the Mendoza line: "My (Seattle Mariner) teammates Tom Paciorek and Bruce Bochte used it to make fun of me," Mendoza told Dave Seminara of the St. Louis Post Dispatch in 2010. "Then they were giving George Brett a hard time because he had a slow start that year, so they told him, 'Hey, man, you're going to sink down below the Mendoza Line if you're not careful.' And then Brett mentioned it to Chris Berman from ESPN, and eventually it spread and became a part of the game."
 26, 1953 - The Pirates sent 2B Danny O'Connell to the Milwaukee Braves for 3B Sid Gordon, P Max Surkont, OF Sam Jethroe, and minor league hurlers Curt Raydon, Fred Waters, and Larry LaSalle. The Braves threw in $100,000 to sweeten the deal. It was the only 6-for-1 deal history, outgunned only by Vida Blue’s 7-for-1 swap in 1978.

 Bowman series 1951

1964 - 3B Jeff King was born in Marion, Indiana. The first pick overall in the 1986 draft, King reached Pittsburgh in 1989 and spent the next eight seasons (1989-96), hitting .258 with 493 RBI during that span and was part of two division titlist teams in 1990 and 1992.
2012 - RH closer Joel Hanrahan and IF Brock Holt were traded to the Boston Red Sox for RHP Stolmy Pimentel, IF Ivan De Jesus, RHP Mark Melancon and 1B/OF Jerry Sands. Hanny, 31, was the key player for Boston, with 76 saves in 2011-12, while the Bucs got some prospects and an effective back end man in Melancon.

(Sorry about being a day late; I thought I scheduled the post for yesterday, but oooops...)

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Merry Christmas: Sam Leever, Rick White, Frank Taveras, FF Fire, Pud Galvin, Gene Lamont, Mario Mendoza...

Sam Leever, Rick White, Frank Taveras, FF Fire, Pud Galvin, Gene Lamont, Mario Mendoza...

  • December 23, 1871 - RHP Sam "The Goshen Schoolmaster" Leever was born in Goshen, Ohio. He was a Pirate mainstay on the hill from 1898-1910, with a record of 191-100 with a 2.47 ERA, spending his entire career with Pittsburgh. Leever won 20 games or more four times and led the league with seven shutouts in 1903. Sadly for Sam, he went 0-2 in the 1903 World Series, trying to pitch through a shoulder injury, and didn’t appear in the 1909 World Series. 
  • December 23, 1968 - RHP Rick White was born in Springfield, Ohio. White, a 15th round draft pick of Pittsburgh in 1990, began his 12-year MLB career as a Buc in 1994-95, and made another Steel City stop in 2005. He went 10-15-8 with a 4.03 ERA as a Pirate. 
  •  December 24, 1949 - Frank Taveras was born in Las Matas de Santa Cruz, Dominican Republic. The SS spent eight years (1971-72, 1974-79) with the Pirates as a top-of-the order guy, swiping 206 bases with a streak of four seasons with 44+ steals, including an NL-leading 70 in 1977. But his bat (.253), OBP (.306) and not-so-steady glovework got him sent to the Mets in April of 1979 for Tim Foli, a dependable fielder and contact hitter that helped jell the World Series infield. 
  • December 24, 1970 - There was a fire in the vacated Forbes Field. The damage this blaze caused, on the heels of a July blaze, hastened its demolition. It was a five-alarmer that started under the RF bleachers and was contained to that area. 
  • December 25, 1856 - RHP James Galvin was born in St. Louis. The Hall of Famer was MLB’s first 300 game winner and may have had the most nicknames of any player ever, going by "Pud," "Gentle Jeems," “Gentleman James” and "The Little Steam Engine." He threw 6,003 IP and 646 complete games, both of which are second only to Cy Young. Pud tossed seven years (1885-89, ‘91-92) for the Pirates, with the 1890 campaign lost when he jumped to the Pittsburgh Burghers of the rogue Player’s League. He was 126-110 with an ERA of 3.10 during his Buc career. 
  •  December 25, 1946 - Gene Lamont was born in Rockford, Illinois. After serving stints as Jim Leyland’s 3B coach, he took over the team reins in 1997. In his first year Lamont finished second with a young, inexperienced team (“The Freak Show”) that was widely predicted to finish last, and he came in second for the manager of the year behind Dusty Baker. That was the highlight; after the 2000 season, Lamont was fired and replaced by Lloyd McClendon after a record of 295–352. 
  • December 26, 1950 - IF Mario Mendoza was born in Chihuahua, Mexico. In five seasons (1974-78) with the Pirates, the reserve infielder put up a .204 BA. About the Mendoza line: "My (Seattle Mariner) teammates Tom Paciorek and Bruce Bochte used it to make fun of me," Mendoza told Dave Seminara of the St. Louis Post Dispatch in 2010. "Then they were giving George Brett a hard time because he had a slow start that year, so they told him, 'Hey, man, you're going to sink down below the Mendoza Line if you're not careful.' And then Brett mentioned it to Chris Berman from ESPN, and eventually it spread and became a part of the game." 

 Merry Christmas to all...

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

'Twas the Day Before Christmas...

  • According to several hot stove sources, the Mets want Nick Kingham for Ike Davis, and the Bucs won't go for that according to Tim Williams of Pirates Prospects and others...not now, anyway.John Perrotto of the Beaver County Times thinks Andrew Lambo could be the answer.
  • Cliff Corcoran of SI's Strike Zone considers Edison Volquez's signing with the Bucs (and Garrett Jones' deal with the Marlins) to be among the off-season's better under the radar moves. 
  • Charlie Wilmoth of MLB Trade Rumors notes that "None of the top dozen free agents have signed with NL teams." 
  • J Pankowski of Yardbarker rates AJ Burnett as the top free agent left on the market.
  • Gregory Polanco had a pretty nice winter season batting third in the Dominican League for Leones del Escogido. His line was .331/.428/.494 with five homers, 28 runs, 28 RBI and seven stolen sacks in eight tries. He finished second in the batting title race. Polanco won the MVP and RoY awards, and begins the playoffs this weekend.
  • A Cutch foul ball led to a new Bucco fan in a round-about way, according to USA Today's Nate Scott. 
  • Chris Cotillo of MLB Daily Dish tweeted that RHP Ryan Reid, recently designated by the Bucs, was claimed by the Mets. He added that OF Jerry Sands, DFA'ed at the same time, was claimed by Tampa.
  • Ex-Bucs on the move: C Chris Snyder signed with the Nats, 2B Ivan DeJesus with the Orioles, and RHP Romulo Sanchez joined up with the Dodgers via minor league contracts. IF Yamaico Navarro went to the Yankees, and may be on his way to Korea. 1B Lyle Overbay's market is lukewarm right now and he'll likely be a January tack-on for someone, according to Nick Cafarda of the Boston Globe.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Bucs ' Pecking Order the Central So Far...

The Bucs have been conspicuously quiet so far this year, filling in some cracks by adding to bullpen depth, bringing back Clint Barmes and signing Charlie Morton. But that first base hole doesn't show any indication of disappearing, and if AJ doesn't return, they're still a top-three pitcher short of a load.

Well, Santa may not bring them any shiny toys to resolve those situations, but we're confident that they'll address the situation. Now the FO is facing the hard part of team rebuilding - getting there is a big step, but staying there is the proof.

But one thing in their favor is that except for St. Louis, retooling for the future, the rest of the division hasn't done much to close the gap.

The Cards lost Carlos Beltran, but he was just blocking super prospect Oscar Taveras. They filled a need at short with the Jhonny Peralta signing, much like the Pirates identified a need last year and brought in Russ Martin. The Redbirds improved their 2013 weak leak, team D, first by moving Beltran and next by clearing space for Kolten Wong at second and Matt Carpenter at third and bumping weak hitting Pete Kozma into a back-up role. They remain the team to beat, and 97 wins is again within their sights as they remain the Central Division's model franchise.

The Reds lost Shin Soo-Choo, Brandon Phillips is a situation still fermenting and Bronson Arroyo doesn't look like he'll be back. So far, they'll hang their hat on speedster Billy Hamilton, improving the D some, but otherwise have just made a handful of depth signings. The biggest difference may be swapping out old-school manager Dusty Baker for pitching coach Bryan Price, who may bring Cincy's tactical maneuvers into this century.

The Brewers have sat pat. They have a pretty nice core of everyday players, and having Ryan Braun back has to be considered equal to a big FA deal. But they haven't done anything to improve their rotation and pen, and it's tough to hit your way to the top without adequate pitching along the way.

The Cubs are in rebuild mode, and we in Pittsburgh know all about the trials and travails that entails. They've lost Alphonso Soriano, Matt Garza, and Scott Feldman, and still can't decide whether to deal or sign Jeff Samardzija. Theo Epstein may turn the Cubbies around, but it won't be in the near future, especially with the pitching transition.

So give the Bucs some time. Starting the season with Frankie Liriano and Gerrit Cole is an improvement over 2013, Gregory Polanco and Jameson Taillon are just around the bend, and except for that first base opening and another starter, the FO may believe they can keep on truckin' internally. That's the plan, and so far, so good.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

12/22: Connie Mack, Matty Alou, Lee Mazzilli, Teke, Todd Ritchie, Dewey, Garrett Jones...

Connie Mack, Matty Alou, Lee Mazzilli, Teke, Todd Ritchie, Dewey, Garrett Jones...

1862 - Cornelius “Connie” Mack was born in East Brookfield, Massachusetts. Mack was a back up catcher for the Pirates from 1891-96, hitting a modest .242. Mack's last three seasons in the NL were as a player-manager with Pittsburgh from 1894 to 1896, leading to a 50 year gig as manager of the Philadelphia Athletics (1901–1950), where he won five World Series and became a Hall-of-Fame skipper.
1938 - CF Matty Alou was born in Bajos de Haina, Dominican Republic. Obtained from the Giants for the 1966 season, he became a hitting machine under Harry “The Hat” Walker’s tutelage. In his time in Pittsburgh, he won a batting title and hit .300+ for four straight years. Mateo was traded to the Cards for the 1971 campaign after hitting .327 as a Pirate.
1982 - OF Lee Mazzilli was traded by the New York Yankees to the Pirates for minor leaguers Don Aubin, John Holland, Jose Rivera and RHP Tim Burke. Burke had an eight year career as a reliever with 100+ saves while Mazzilli played 3-½ years (1982-85) for Pittsburgh, appearing in the outfield and first base while putting up a .244 Bucco BA.

 Topps 1985 series

1983 - Kent Tekulve re-signed with the Pirates for three years/$900K per season. In 1983, Teke had 18 saves and a 1.64 ERA for Pittsburgh.
1998 - RHP Todd Ritchie signed as a free agent with the Pirates. Ritchie won a career-high 15 games in 1999, and was the Pirates’ Opening Day starter in 2001. In his three Pirate seasons, he went 35-32/4.29 for the Bucs before he was dealt to the White sox for Kip Wells, Josh Fogg and Sean Lowe after the 2001 campaign.
2008 - C Ryan Doumit signed a three year, $11.5M extension that bought out his arbitration years, with a team option for 2012/13 worth $15.5 M. The Pirates didn’t pick up the option seasons, and Dewey signed with Minnesota.
2008 - The Bucs signed FA 1B/OF Garrett Jones to a minor-league deal. He was on the big club by mid-season and never looked back, playing for Pittsburgh through 2013 before joining the Miami Marlins.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

12/21: Josh Gibson, Danny Kravitz, Dick Groat, AVS, Steady Freddy, Frankie...

Josh Gibson, Danny Kravitz, Dick Groat, AVS, Steady Freddy, Frankie...

1911 - Hall of Fame catcher Josh Gibson was born in Buena Vista, Georgia. Considered the top HR hitter (the “Babe Ruth”) of the Negro Leagues, he played for the Grays and Crawfords.
1930 - C Danny Kravitz was born in Lopez, near Scranton and Wilkes-Barre. The reserve catcher played five years (1956-60) for Pittsburgh, hitting .236, but missed out on the ‘60 Series when he was traded in June to KC for Hank Foiles.
1959 - Deals not made: After Pirates manager Danny Murtaugh rejected the A's offer to deal Roger Maris for SS Dick Groat earlier in the month, Pittsburgh obtained OF Gino Cimoli along with RHP Tom Cheney from the Cardinals for RHP Ron Kline. Maris, who was dealt to the Yankees, had the first of his two consecutive MVP years in New York, while Groat played a key role for the World Champion Bucs the next season and was named the NL MVP.
1960 - OF Andy Van Slyke was born in Utica, NY. AVS played eight years (1987-94) for the Bucs, hitting .283, earning three All-Star spots while winning five Golden Gloves and two Silver Sluggers during his stay. He was a mainstay of the Jimmy Leyland teams of the early nineties.

1977 - 2B Freddy Sanchez was born in Hollywood. In six years (2004-09) as a Pirate, he hit .301, winning the batting crown in 2006 with a .344 BA and appearing in three All-Star games. It was a dark day in the City when the fan favorite Steady Freddy was traded to the Giants, where injuries derailed his career.
2012 - LHP Francisco Liriano reached an agreement to sign with the Bucs, pending his physical. He broke his right arm over the holidays, but he and and the Pirates worked out an alternate deal. The Cisco Kid won 16 games in 2013 and was the “Comeback Player of the Year.”

The image is from the Pittsburgh Baseball Hero Decks, available at:  Heinz History Center - Sportzburgh, Pittsburgh Airport & Settlers Ridge Shopping Center - Hall of Cards, 300 Mt Lebanon Blvd - Allegheny General Hospital Gift Shop - Morini, The Mall at Robinson - Do It Best Hardware, Ambridge, PA - Washington Hospital Gift Shop - Synders Gateway Travel Plaza, Breezewood, PA

Friday, December 20, 2013

Friday Notes...

Baseball Stuff...

  • Johnah Keri of Grantland suggested it, and Travis Sawchik of the Tribune Review explored it in a little more detail, "it" being a Gerrit Cole contract extension.
  • Pittsburgh Magazine's Pittsburgher of the Year? How about the Pittsburgh Pirates? Check it out; there's also a sidebar Bucco article in the issue by Tom Singer.
  • Joe Lucia of The Outside Corner thinks that Edison Volquez's one-year contract is one of the riskier ones of the off season, adding that "If he's able to put together a season comparable to Jeff Locke's 1.1 fWAR of 2013, the Pirates should be satisfied..."
  • Roger Schlueter of MLB.com takes note that Cutch is in some elite company now historically.
  • Matthew Kory of Sports on Earth selects the Pirate playoff win against the Reds as one of the Top Ten Moments of the 2013 season. We agree.
  • Ol' Bucco reliever Daniel McCutchen has caught on with the Rangers. Pirate backup of yore, OF Xavier Paul, has inked a deal with the Orioles.
  • Mike White of the Post Gazette has the rundown on local high school players who went Division One this year.

12/20: The Mahatma, Jose DeLeon, Dale Berra, Jose Silva, Chris Young...

The Mahatma, Jose DeLeon, Dale Berra, Jose Silva, Chris Young...

1881 - Branch Rickey was born in Stockdale, Ohio. An innovator of things as diverse as the breaking the color line, a feeder minor league system and batting helmets, Rickey was the Pirate GM from 1950-55. His Pittsburgh teams were notoriously poor (“The Rickey-Dinks”), but his player development pipeline helped to form the core of the 1960 World Championship club.
1960 - RHP Jose DeLeon was born in Rancho Viejo, Dominican Republic. After being taken in the third round of the 1979 draft, he reached Pittsburgh in 1983. He went 17-38 with a 4.02 ERA as a Buc before being traded to the White Sox in 1986. DeLeon lasted 13 seasons in the MLB, but never matched his promise with his performance.

1984 Donruss series from Baseball Almanac

1984 - SS Tim Foli, OF Steve Kemp and cash were sent by the NY Yankees to the Pittsburgh Pirates in exchange for SS Dale Berra, OF Jay Buhner and LHP Alfonso Pulido. Buhner went on to have a 15 year career, mostly with Seattle, while not much else was gotten out of the other guys involved in the deal.
2001 - In a minor deal, the Bucs sent RHP Jose Silva to the Reds for minor league RHP Ben Shaffar. Silva pitched one more year in the big leagues while Sharrar never made it to the show.
2002 - RHP Chris Young and minor leaguer Jon Searles were traded to the Montreal Expos for RHP Matt Herges. The 6’10” Young, a third round pick of the Bucs in 2000, went on to win 32 games between 2005-07 and landed an All-Star berth before injuries derailed his promising career, while the Pirates cut Herges in spring training.

Thursday, December 19, 2013


Today's Tidbits...

  • Jon Heyman of CBS Sports reports another potential 1B guy, Eric Chavez, is off the boards. He resigned with Arizona.He adds that Jeff Karstens is said to be pain-free and in midst of normal winter throwing program. planning to work out for clubs in January. As a final note, he says that Rick Van Den Hurk, who pitched for the Bucs in 2012, will stay in Korea, where he tossed last year.
  • Ex-Bucco on the move: The Twins got LHP Sean Gilmartin from the Braves for C/OF Ryan Doumit. Jeff Sullivan of Fangraphs thinks Dewey's days behind the dish are over, thanks to his ability to lose rather than frame strikes.
  • The Miami Marlins signed 3B Casey McGehee, one of the original Zoltan gang, to a one-year contract after he hit 27 home runs in Japan last season.
  • The Cubs signed LHP Jonathan Sanchez to a minor league deal.
  • Ron Blum of the Associated Press has a piece on the official 2013 payrolls as calculated by MLB. The Bucs were 25th with a $74.6M bottom line, while the only two teams hit with the luxury tax were the Yankees and Dodgers.
  • If you're a follower of 93.7 The Fan, they've shuffled their host lineup a bit.

12/19: Tommy O'Brien, Flop of the Year, Amos Otis, Jon Lieber...

Tommy O'Brien, Flop of the Year, Amos Otis, Jon Lieber...

1918 - Utlilityman Tommy O’Brien (he played everywhere but pitcher & catcher) was born in Anniston, Alabama. He started his career as a Pirate, hitting .301 between 1942-45, but was in the minors from 1946-48, returning to play again in the AL in 1949-50.
1938 - In a poll of writers by the Associated Press, the Pittsburgh Pirates were selected as the biggest disappointment in sports for the year, edging out the Rice Owls football team. The Pirates had a 3-½ game lead after September 22nd, but lost six of their final seven games to finish the season two games behind the Cubs.
1983 - The Pirates signed 37 year old OF Amos Otis. A five-time All-Star with the Kansas City Royals, Otis hit .165 in 40 games for the Bucs. He was released in August and never played in the majors again.
1998 - The Pirates traded RHP Jon Lieber to the Cubs for OF Brant Brown. Lieber would win 93 games over the next nine seasons, going 20-6 in 2001, while Brown would be done as a major leaguer after the 2000 season.

 Leaf Signature series 1996

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Tuesday Notes...Bucs Sign Ishikawa; What Would Cutch Be Worth As a 2015 FA?

Some Bucco bits & pieces...

  • Matt Sullivan of MLB Daily Dish thinks first base is between Ike Davis and Mitch Moreland. John Perrotto of the Beaver County Times hears that the Mets are holding out for a big young arm like Nick Kingham, trying to play Pittsburgh against the Brewers, also looking for a 1B. In that case, we'd expect the Bucs to look elsewhere. Gotta know when to hold 'em and know when to fold 'em. To aggravate matters, the Rangers keep saying that they plan to hold on to Moreland. Andrew Lambo at first, anyone?
  • Brendan Panikkar of Baseball Hot Corner thinks the Bucs have just two must-do moves for the off season.
  • Grant Brisbee of Baseball Nation wonders what Cutch would be worth on the market if he hadn't inked a deal with the Bucs and became a FA next year...and he's guessing 10 years/$240M.
  • James Krug of isportsweb has the numbers on the Bucs...
  • Jim Callis of MLB.com thinks the Bucco draft of 2013 was the best of the year. Baseball America agreed with him.
  • Chad Dodson of The Hardball Times picks out the greatest swan songs (last regular season) in baseball by WAR; Roberto Clemente's 1972 season is one of them.
  • The Pirates inked a handful of minor league free agents. Those with invites to camp are RHP Kyle McPherson, recovering from TJ surgery, along with 1B Travis Ishikawa (LH with a .260 lifetime MLB BA) and LH relievers Daniel Schlereth and Adam Wilk, both with MLB experience. They also signed LHP Brandon Mann and RHP Elvin Ramirez to minor league contracts. IF Michael Martinez was announced a couple of days ago and is now official.

12/18: Jack Barrett, Gino Cimoli, Pete Schourek, Matt Stairs, Yoslan Herrera, Tim Neveritt, Javy Lopez...

Jack Barrett, Gino Cimoli, Pete Schourek, Matt Stairs, Yoslan Herrera, Tim Neveritt, Javy Lopez...

1915 - OF Jack Barrett was born in Lowell, Massachusetts. He played from 1942-46 and hit .251. His best seasons were 1944-45, when he stole 53 bases and scored 196 runs.
1929 - OF Gino Cimoli was born in San Francisco. He only played a season and some change (1960-61) for the Bucs, but was their fourth outfielder for the 1960 Series champs, hitting .267 as a Pirate and .250 in the series. He scored the first first tally in Pittsburgh’s five-run eighth inning in the deciding game seven and started several games for the injured Bob Skinner.
 1998 - LHP Pete Schourek signed a two-year/$4M FA contract with the Pirates. After going 4-7 with a 5,34 ERA, he was released after a season, with the Pirates eating the second year of his contract.
 2002 - Utilityman Matt Stairs signed as a FA the Pirates, accepting a $900K deal. He had a strong season, hitting .292 with 20 HR despite just 305 AB, earning himself a three year/$3.55M contract with KC the following campaign.

Topps 2003 series

2006 - Cuban RHP Yoslan Herrera, 25, agreed to a $1.92M, three-year contract with the Pirates. Herrera pitched four years for the Cuban National team. He defected in July of 2005 and was signed by scouts Rene Gayo and Louie Eljaua. He won one MLB game.
2008 - Tim Neverett was hired as the Pirate play-by-play man.
 2009 - The Pirates signed LHP Javier Lopez to a one year, $775K contract. The LOOGY reestablished his credentials in Pittsburgh, was traded to the Giants at the deadline.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Bucco Notes

Bucco notes...

  • Yahoo Sports Eric Schaal selects his seven best MLB managers...and yep, our field general is there.
  • Who'd a' thunk it? There are reported to be a line of teams vying for LHP Jonathan Sanchez, who lasted four starts in Pittsburgh last year before being released. Bill Baer of CBS Sports said some of those clubs may want him to move to the pen, ala Ollie Perez. 
  • The Blue Jays have signed 3B Jared Goedert to a minor league contract with an invite to camp, according to Jon Paul Morosi of Fox Sports. The 28-year-old spent last season at Indy, batting .241 with 11 homers.
  • David Schoenfield of ESPN's The Sweet Spot explains that it's a lot easier to get there than to stay there.
  • James Krug of isportsweb writes that the Pirate fans have kept their end of the deal; now it's up to the FO to keep theirs.
  • Ben Badler of Baseball America has the new posting rules for Japanese players looking for a MLB contract. It's a little fairer to the smaller revenue clubs, and should put more money in the pocket of the player rather than his club.

12/16-17: Ray Mueller, Rick Sofield, Bobby Shantz, Benito Santiago, Rebel Oakes, Kevin Correia...

Ray Mueller, Rick Sofield, Bobby Shantz, Benito Santiago, Rebel Oakes, Kevin Correia...

  • December 16, 1938 - The Boston Bees traded catcher Ray Mueller to the Pirates for C Al Todd and OF Johnny Dickshot. Todd had a couple of good seasons left, while Dickshot wouldn’t hit his prime until his last two seasons in 1944-45 during the war for the White Sox. Iron Man Mueller was 38, and played a year in Pittsburgh as a reserve catcher, hitting .269.
  • December 16, 1956 - Coach Rick Sofield was born in Cheyenne, Wyoming. He was an outfielder for the Twins, worked in the minors (he was the Pirates' minor league field coordinator in 2002) and managed in college. Sofield was brought on staff by long-time bud Clint Hurdle in 2011.
  • December 16, 1960 - The Bucs sent UT Harry Bright, 1B RC Stevens and RHP Bennie Daniels to the expansion Washington Senators (now the Texas Rangers) for veteran RHP Bobby Shantz. Daniels was a useful starter in DC for several seasons, while Shantz lasted a year in Pittsburgh before being lost to the Houston Colt .45s in the 1961 expansion draft. He went 6-3-2/3.22 in 43 games with the Pirates, and pitched fairly effectively afterward, his career lasting until the end of the 1964 season.

Topps series 1961

  • December 16, 2004 - The Pirates acquired C Benito Santiago and cash from the Royals for RHP Leo Nunez (Juan Oviedo). The 30 year old Oviedo served a 2012 suspension after pitching for seven seasons because of name fraud; he went by Nunez to gain a later birthdate. Santiago got in six games before his release and never played in the majors again.
  • December 17, 1883 - CF Ennis “Rebel” Oakes was born in Lisbon, Louisiana. He played five years for the Reds and Cards, then jumped to the Federal League when it was established in 1914. After two seasons as the player-manager for the Pittsburgh Rebels, named in his honor, the league folded and Rebel never returned to MLB despite his .295 BA as a Rebel.
  • December 17, 2010 - RHP Kevin Correia signed as a FA with Pittsburgh, agreeing to a two year, $8M deal. In those two seasons, he would post a line of 24-22/4.49 before moving on to Minnesota.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

12/15 Vic Willis, Bucky Williams, Vic Janowicz, Jim Bunning, Rule 5 Debacle, Roberto Hernandez...

Vic Willis, Bucky Williams, Vic Janowicz, Jim Bunning, Rule 5 Debacle, Roberto Hernandez...

  • 1905 - In one of their better deals, the Bucs picked up RHP Vic Willis from the Boston Beaneaters for UT Dave Brain, IF/OF Del Howard, and P Vive Lindaman. Willis won between 21-23 games in each of his four years (1906-09) in Pittsburgh and was part of the 1909 World Series championship club, while the other three were workmanlike players during their careers.
  • 1906 - IF Wallace “Bucky” Williams was born in Baltimore and moved to Pittsburgh at the age of six months. After stints with the Pittsburgh Keystone Juniors and Monarchs, he played for the Pittsburgh Crawfords (1927–32; 1937-39) and the Homestead Grays in 1936. Bucky also played for his employer as part of the Edgar Thompson Steel team. He went to Holy Rosary and Crescent Elementary before leaving school for work, and rests now in Calvary Cemetery.

 Bucky Williams from MLB.com

  • 1952 - Vic Janowicz was signed to a $75,000 contract by the Pirates a bonus baby. Janowicz was a Heisman-winning running back at Ohio State in 1950, but Pittsburgh saw his future in baseball. As a bonus baby, he had to be carried on the MLB roster for two years. Vic hit .252 as a C in 1953, but dropped to .151 as a 3B’man the following year, for a two year line of .224 with two HR and 10 RBI in 215 PA. He left the team after that season and jumped to the NFL Washington Redskins, where he played two years before a car accident ended his athletic career.
  • 1967 - Pittsburgh traded for RHP Jim Bunning, sending the Phillies pitchers Woodie Fryman‚ Bill Laxton and Harold Clem along with IF Don Money, who would be the Phils regular 3B until Mike Schmidt arrived.
  • 2003 - The Pirates lost five players in the Rule 5 draft, 1b Chris Shelton, OF Rich Thompson, LHP Frank Brooks, RHP Jeff Bennett and 3B/OF Jose Bautista, who they traded RHP Kris Benson for to get back in July, 2004.
  • 2005 - Pittsburgh signed free agent RHP set-up man Roberto Hernandez to a one-year, $2.75M contract, and flipped him to the Mets at the 2006 deadline.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Saturday Notes...

Snowballs to baseballs...
  • Don't know how close to the vest the Bucco budget is this year, but Chris Cotillo of the MLB Daily Dish tweets "Source: The Orioles seem to be waiting on response from AJ Burnett before pursuing other starting pitchers. He looks like their main target." Burnett could have the best of both worlds with the Os; he lives in a Maryland suburb 1/2 hour from town. Be interesting to see how much El Birdos think he's worth.
  • James Loney's three year/$21M contract with Tampa seems manageable, but the price looks a lot like a home town discount, and the Pirates were leery ("out of our comfort zone") of committing for three years. Still, that leaves the cupboard pretty bare for 2014; there aren't very many good options left. Eric Chavez is starting to look awfully tempting.
  • RHP Ryan Reid and OF Jerry Sands were the pair DFA'ed to make room for newly signed Clint Barmes and Edison Volquez on the 40-man roster.
  • Not much came out of the first day of Pirate Fest. The only oddity was the FO telling the media that their $19M contract with Root Sports was inaccurate, and they're in the top half of TV deals. We're not exactly sure how you can plead fiscal limitations and then tell everyone what a geyser of a revenue stream you're getting from television.
  • Beyond the Box Score noted that 21 qualifying players were above average in 2013 in all three categories of batting, running, and defense as measured by Fangraphs. Three were Pirates; you can probably guess two but the third might be a surprise... 

12/14: Series Share, Willie Pope, Lefty LaPalme, The Kitten, Jon Lieber, Scott Sauerbeck, Wil Cordero, Lyle Overbay, Matt Diaz...

Series Share, Willie Pope, Lefty LaPalme, The Kitten, Jon Lieber, Scott Sauerbeck, Wil Cordero, Lyle Overbay, Matt Diaz...

  • 1911 - Pirate owner Barney Dreyfuss proposed that each team in the World Series turn over one-fourth of its share of the gate to the league, to be divided among the other teams. It marked the beginning of changes that ultimately gave players of the first four clubs a percentage of the World Series money. 
  • 1918 - Willie Pope was born in Birmingham, Alabama. Pope was a pitcher for the Pittsburgh Crawfords (1946) and Homestead Grays (1947-48) and a member of the Grays rotation for the 1948 Championship club. He tossed a no-hitter against the NY Cubans in 1947. Known as Wee Willie (he was 6’4”), he remained in the City after his career and became a player in Pittsburgh ward politics and a local black baseball historian. 
  • 1923 - LHP Paul “Lefty” LaPalme was born in Springfield, Massachusetts. Lefty began his career in Pittsburgh (1951-54) and was a starter in the last two seasons, with a Pirate line of 14-33-2 and a 4.99 ERA. The knuckleballer was traded to the Cards in 1955, converted to a reliever, and put together several decent seasons from the pen. 

Lefty LaPalme - 1953 Bowman series

  • 1963 - The Pirates sent P Harvey Haddix to the Baltimore Orioles in exchange for IF Dick Yencha and cash. Haddix, then 38 and a reliever, spent the last two years of his career in Baltimore while Yencha never made it to the MLB. 
  • 1998 - RHP Jon Lieber was traded to the Chicago Cubs for OF Brant Brown. Lieber tossed nine more years in the show, winning 20 games for the Cubs in 2001 while Brown was one and done in Pittsburgh. 
  • 1998 - The Pirates chose LHP Scott Sauerbeck from the New York Mets in the Rule 5 draft. Sauerbeck stuck with the Pirates until 2003, going 19-15-5/3.53 in his 4-1/2 Bucco career, before he was traded to Boston. 
  • 1999 - The Pirates signed FA OF Wil Cordero to a 3-year contract worth $9M. 
  • 2010 - The Pirates agreed to terms with 1B Lyle Overbay on a one-year, $5M contract; he was waived in August after hitting .227. The Bucs also signed 32-year old OF Matt Diaz to a two year deal worth up to $5M. He was sent back to the Braves at the following deadline for P Eliecer Cardenas after hitting .259 with no homers.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Signings & Stuff...

The end of the baseball meetings isn't the end of the wheelin and dealin'...

  • The Pirates re-signed Clint Barmes for one year/$2M. Given the dearth of IF depth available, that's a good deal by the Bucs. Remember, the Yankees gave Brendan Ryan a two year/$5M contract with a $5M player option for the third year. Ryan hit .197 in 2013. 
  • Chris Cotillo of MLB Daily Dish posted "Source: The Pirates agreed to terms with INF Michael Martinez, 31, on a minor league deal with ST invite." We wouldn't get too worked up; in three years with the Phils, he has yet to finish hitting above the Mendoza line and has a .187 career BA. He's played everywhere but pitcher, catcher and first base and is an organizational depth acquisition..
  • Will Carroll of Bleacher Report is "hearing Pirates are more focused on Mitch Moreland than on James Loney right now. Prefer Loney but not at that price." The price that Loney's asking is now three years/$27-30M. The Bucs, Brewers and Rays are all in the market for a 1B, so the price may be a little higher now that the field has dwindled down pretty much to FA Loney and a few trade candidates like Moreland, Ike Davis, Adam Lind and maybe Justin Smoak.
  • James Krug of isportsweb of isn't too thrilled about the way the Bucs are going about their business of restocking the roster so far this off season.
  • Mike Petriello of Fangraphs writes the secret to Gerrit Cole's success wasn't his heater, but his hook.
  • Wei-Chung Wang, the 21 year old Taiwanese LHP the Pirates lost to the Brewers in the Rule 5 draft, is quite the story. He had 2011 TJ surgery (which is why he was an early candidate for the draft), missed 2012 and worked out of the GCL in 2013, but Milwaukee sniffed him out. The Pirates took a fairly sensible risk exposing him. If they protected him on the 40-man now, before he pitched in a full-season pro league, any burp in his career runs the risk of running out his option years. It'll be interesting to see how his situation plays out.
  • The FO still has some housekeeping to do. Once the contracts of Clint Barmes and Edison Volquez become official, a couple of spots on the 40-man need to be opened.

12/13: Dale Berra, Josh Fogg, Jay Bell, Todd Ritchie, Damaso Marte...

Dale Berra, Josh Fogg, Jay Bell, Todd Ritchie, Damaso Marte...

  • 1956 - Dale Berra was born in Ridgewood, NJ. The SS spent eight years in Pittsburgh (1977-84) and started the last three, but his bat (.238 as a Pirate) never came around. He was the first round pick of the 1975 draft (20th overall). 
  • 1976 - RHP Josh Fogg was born in Lynn, Massachusetts. He pitched for Pittsburgh from 2002-05 with a record of 39-42 and a 4.79 ERA. 

Upper Deck MVP Series 2003

  • 1996 - SS Jay Bell and 3B Jeff King were traded to the Royals for 3B Joe Randa, LHP Jeff Wallace, LHP Jeff Granger and RHP Jeff Martin in a salary dump, or maybe in an effort by the clubs to set a record for Jeffs (or just “J” first names in general) included in one deal. 
  • 2001 - The Pirates sent P Todd Ritchie and C Lee Evans to the White Sox for pitchers Kip Wells‚ Sean Lowe‚ and Josh Fogg (on his birthday). 
  • 2005 - The Bucs acquired LHP Damaso Marte from the Chicago White Sox in exchange for INF/OF Rob Mackowiak.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

The Meetings Finish Up...Notes and Rule 5 Draft

The meetings come to an end, and the Pirates still don't have a top-end pitcher (won't you come home, AJ?), first baseman, or back-up middle infielder. Tick, tick, tick....

  • According to John Perrotto of the Beaver County Times, "Pirates have interest in free agent reliever Matt Guerrier and the Mariners switch-hitting 1B Justin Smoak."
  • For those who thought the Bucs might be giving oldie but goodie Bartolo Colon a look, give up the ghost - he signed a two year/$20M deal with the Mets.
  • The Rule 5 draft was today. The Pirates' 40-man roster is full, so for the second straight year, they didn't participate in the MLB phase. The Brewers took Taiwanese LHP Wei-Chung Wang from the Bucs, kinda an odd pick as he is a 21-year old that spent last season in the GCL after TJ surgery in 2012. But he does have a nice fastball/curve combo, and the Brew Crew is hoping he can stick as a second lefty/long man from the pen. RHP Zach Thornton made it through OK as only nine players were selected.
  • In the minor league phase, the Pirates drafted RHP Tyler Sample from the Royals. Why not? After all, he's 6'7", and projects as a possible mid-inning reliever if he can find the plate. They also took RHP Felipe Gonzalez from the GCL Yankees and RHP AJ Morris from the Cubs. Morris is a ground ball guy and has the upper end potential of a set-up man; he should at least provide upper level depth. The Cubs took C Charlie Cutler and Toronto took RHP Roberto Espinosa off the Altoona Curve roster; neither were considered prospects so much as organization depth.
  • Yesterday, the MLB announced it would ban home plate collisions; the finished work will be hashed out by committee and presented in January for approval.
  • Jeff Sullivan of Fangraphs takes a look at Charlie Morton, and compares him with...Phil Hughes.

12/12: Phenomenal Smith, Bob Harmon, Larry French, Freddie Lindstrom, Arky Vaughan, John Tudor, Ramon Vazquez, Matt Capps

Phenomenal Smith, Bob Harmon, Larry French, Freddie Lindstrom, Arky Vaughan, John Tudor, Ramon Vazquez, Matt Capps...

  • 1864 - P Phenomenal Smith was born in Philadelphia. He didn’t play in Pittsburgh much (1884, 1890 with a 1-4 record), but we couldn’t resist the name. He was actually born John Francis Gammon, but got his nickname when he struck out 16 batters in a no-hit game in 1885 while pitching for minor-league Newark, with no batter hitting the ball out of the infield. Only two runners reached base, one on a walk and one on a dropped third strike – and Smith picked both of them off. 

  • 1913 - The Pirates traded P Hank Robinson, OF’ers Chief Wilson & Cozy Dolan and IF’ers Art Butler & Dots Miller to the St Louis Cardinals for P Bob Harmon, 1B Ed Konetchy and 3B Mike Mowrey. The Cards got two or three good seasons out of their new acquisitions, but the Bucs weren’t so lucky. Harmon was keeper, tossing for four seasons and going 39-52 with a 2.60 ERA. Konetchy and Mowrey both had so-so 1914 seasons for the Pirates, skipped to the outlaw Federal League’s Pittsburgh Rebels in 1915 and then signed with different clubs in 1916. 
  • 1928 - The Pirates bought LHP Larry French from Portland of the Pacific Coast League. From 1929-34, he went 87-83 with a 3.50 ERA for Pittsburgh and in a 14 year MLB career won 197 games. 
  • 1932 - Pay attention; this one’s a little tricky. Giant CF Freddie Lindstrom ended up a Bucco in a three-way deal. New York sent CF Chick Fullis to the Phillies. Pittsburgh sent RHP Glenn Spencer to the Giants and OF Gus Dugas to Philadelphia, who shipped OF Kiddo Davis to New York. Lindstrom hit .302 in two seasons at Pittsburgh, playing between Lloyd and Paul Waner on his road to the Hall of Fame. For the cost of two reserves, the Bucs got two years of a Hall-of-Famer. 
  • 1941 - The Bucs traded SS Arky Vaughan to the Brooklyn Dodgers for IF Pete Coscarart, RHP Luke Hamlin, C Babe Phelps and OF/1B Jimmy Wasdell. Only reserve infielder Coscarart stuck with the team past 1942. In ten seasons, Hall of Famer Vaughan hit .324 for Pittsburgh. He later had a couple of strong seasons for Brooklyn, then left the team and worked his ranch for three years after, according to baseball lore, a dispute with manager Leo Durocher (although his family said he ran the spread because his brother Glenn was drafted and there was no one else to do the job.) Whatever the reason, he didn’t return to baseball until 1947, after Durocher was suspended for gambling. 
  • 1984 - The Bucs traded LHP John Tudor and OF Brian Harper to the St. Louis Cardinals for UT Steve Barnard and OF George Hendrick. Tudor won 21 games with the Cards while tossing ten shutouts the next season and won two World Series games. 
  • 2008 - The Pirates signed IF Ramon Vazquez, the only player with major league experience added to the roster during the winter meetings, to a two-year deal worth $4M. He hit .230 in 2009, then was released the following April, ending his nine year MLB career. 
  • 2009 - The Bucs non-tendered RHP Matt Capps, allowing him to walk as an uncompensated free agent. He signed a one year deal with Washington for $3.5M.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Day Three: Baseball Meeting - Signings, Rumors and Notes

More movin' and shakin'; and some Bucco bakin'...

  • Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports: The FO added Edison Volquez to the roster on one-year, $5M contract, pending his physical.Volquez was super in 2008 and not so much since. Ray Searage will need to pull another rabbit out of his cap this year or end up with Jonathan Sanchez 2.0.
  • Pittsburgh got Charlie Morton's name on a contract. It's guaranteed for three years ($4M - 2014, $8M - 2016,'16, with $1M buyout/$9.5M team option in 2017 with $500K in bonuses). So Ground Chuck will be a Buc for awhile.
  • Seattle is doing a one-man wrecking crew job on the first base market. They just signed Corey Hart and traded for Logan Morrison (one will play the OF). That leaves James Loney with an ear-to-ear grin and the Pirates, Rays and Brewers all looking for 1B. James is the best of the FA class; guys available through trade are Ike Davis, Mitch Moreland, and Justin Smoak.
  • Adam Rubin of ESPN was "told there aren't mystery teams with Ike Davis. It's Brewers, Rays and maybe Pirates. And Mets aren't giving him away. So it's standoff."
  • Andrew Marchand of ESPN says the Bucs have shown some interest in Johan Santana.
  • The Blue Jays were approached by the Pirates about 1B Adam Lind and asked about 2B Neil Walker in return. The talks quickly fizzled, two sources told sportsnet.ca.'s Shi Davidi. 
  • RHP Kyle Haynes became the PTBNL sent to the Yankees for C Chris Stewart. Haynes, 22, had a 2.38 ERA and 9.2 K/9 in 41 games for low-A West Virginia this past season, reports Bill Brink of the Post Gazette
  • The Rule 5 draft is tomorrow; the Buc 40-man roster is full, so it's not likely they'll pick up anyone.Rumors are that Indy reliever Zack Thorton could be lost during the day, though.
  • Congrats, Cutch. As rumored, he got engaged to his girl Maria Hanslovan on the Ellen show.

Bucs Lock Up Morton

Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports reported that the Bucs signed RHP Charlie Morton through 2016 with an option for a fourth season.

His deal will be for $4M this year, $8M in 2015 and $8M in 2016 with a club option for 2017 worth $9.5M and a $1M buyout. (If Morton is traded, the club option turns into a mutual option.) So the Bucs gave him roughly street value ($3.9M) for his last arbitration year and tied him up for two FA seasons with an option for another. Good move; with Francisco Liriano and Wandy Rodriguez in their walk years in 2015, Ground Chuck will be around with Gerrit Cole, Jameson Taillon and company to ease the transition.

Morton, 30, is 30-49 with a 4.70 ERA in parts of six seasons with the Braves and the Pirates. Pittsburgh acquired Morton, OF Gorkys Hernandez and LHP Jeff Locke from Atlanta in 2009 for OF Nate McLouth.

After showing flashes in 2009, Morton was ready to challenge for a rotation spot and broke camp with the team. But 2010 was the infamous year when he spent time with a sports psychologist after going on the DL following a horrid 1–9/9.35 ERA start. He rebounded surprisingly well, pitching out of AAA Indy with his new Roy Halladay motion, and had his coming of age season the next campaign.

2011was Morton's most productive year. Charlie went 10–10 and 171-2/3 innings in 29 starts with a 3.83 ERA, and he was named the club's "Breakout Player of the Year". He had off-season hip surgery, then in 2012 went under the knife again for TJ surgery after working just 50 IP.

Morton came back in June of this season and posted a 7-4 record with a 3.26 ERA through 116 innings with a 62.9 percent ground ball rate (it's 54.8% career). More importantly, his control stayed sharp (2.8 BB/nine) and he picked up his K rate, thanks to an improving curve.

The main risk is of Charlie's body breaking down again. If Morton can keep himself in one piece and give the Pirates 175 IP from the back of the rotation, he'll be a bargain. Oddly, for his age, he still may have some upside in a "return to the future" kind of way way..

Day Three: Baseball Meetings, Rumors & Notes, AM Edition

Some late happenings:

  • Jon Morosi of Fox Sports reports that the "Pirates have been overwhelmed by trade interest in reliever Justin Wilson and are willing to listen, sources tell Ken Rosenthal and me." (The Nats are one of those teams.) No surprise; LH power pitchers under team control hold a ton of market value, and he's only a year away from being in a rotation, so he could be conceivably be converted back to a starting role...or a set-up man/closer. And if the brass are getting calls on Wilson, bet that Tony Watson is of big interest, too.
  • He added that the Bucs are one of the teams showing some interest in Jason Hammel.
  • Jayson Stark of ESPN notes that one name to file away that fits their (Pittsburgh's) mold: Edinson Volquez.
  • Jon Heyman of CBS Sports heard that "AJ Burnett remains 'torn' about whether to pitch in 2014, says friend. Could be bucs, but Orioles closer for MD resident." AJ lives about a dozen miles north of Baltimore, in Monkton. Travis Sawchik of the Trib tweets that AJ Burnett's agent is in Orlando at the meetings. So maybe decision time is nearing.
  • OF Harold Ramirez has been named to the Colombian Winter League All-Star game, per Pirate Prospect's John Dreker.

12/11: Busy Day

Glenn Wright, O'Brien Twins, Fred Haney, Jay Bell, Doc for Dock, Tim Foli, Steve Buechele, Arthur Rhodes, Eric Bedard...

  • 1928 - SS Glenn “Buckshot” Wright was sent to the Brooklyn Robins for LHP Jesse “The Silver Fox” Petty and IF Harry Riconda. Wright, one of the top SS of the era, suffered a major shoulder injury in 1929 which affected his play in the field, but didn’t hang up the spikes until 1935 with a lifetime .294 BA after 11 big league seasons. Petty was workmanlike in 1929, but the wheels fell off in 1930, his final MLB season. 
  • 1930 - The O’Brien twins, Eddie and Johnny, were born in South Amboy, New Jersey. Utility man Eddie - he played SS, 3B, OF and even pitched 16 innings - spent five years (1952, 1954-57) with the Bucs, hit .236 and had a 3.31 ERA with a 1-0 record. Johnny was a Pirate for five years (1953, 1955-58) and was a middle infielder/pitcher. He put up a .260 BA and went 1-3 with a 5.61 ERA. The O'Briens were the first twins in major league history to play for the same team in the same game. On a side note, the brothers were also strong basketball players at Seattle University, and scored 84 points between them when SU beat the barnstorming Harlem Globetrotters in 1952. 

 Topps 1954

  • 1952 - Fred Haney was named as manager, replacing Billy Meyer. The Bucs finished in last place each season under Haney’s three year reign, compiling a 163-299 (.353) record. 
  • 1965 - SS Jay Bell was born at Eglin AFB (Pensacola), Florida. Jay played SS for Pittsburgh from 1989-96, hitting .269, anchoring the infield of Jim Leyland’s 1990-92 division championship clubs and earning an All-Star spot in 1993. Bell won a Gold Glove in 1993, breaking a string of thirteen straight NL Gold Gloves by SS Ozzie Smith. It was the first GG by a Pirate SS since Gene Alley's back-to-back honors in 1966 and 1967. 
  • 1975 - The Yankees acquired RHP Dock Ellis, LHP Ken Brett and 2B Willie Randolph from the Pirates for RHP Doc Medich. Randolph suited up for 17 more seasons, was named to six All-Star teams and played in four World Series, but was blocked in Pittsburgh by Rennie Stennett. 
  • 1981 - SS Tim Foli was traded to the California Angels for Brian Harper. Foli was on the downside of his career while Harper spent three years in Pittsburgh as a utilityman. 
  • 1991 - The Pirates signed 3B Steve Buechele, a free agent they had traded for late in the season, to a four year/$11M contract. He played 80 games in Pittsburgh before being sent to the Cubs in a 1992 deadline deal for LHP Danny Jackson, who in turn was lost to the Marlins in the following off season during the expansion draft. 
  •  2004 - The Pirates swapped out LHP Arthur Rhodes to the Indians for OF Matt Lawton less than a month after they had acquired him. 
  • 2011 - The Pirates signed LHP Erik Bedard to a one year deal for $4.5M. He was released in late August after going 7-14 with a 5.01 ERA.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Day Two: Baseball Meetings, Rumors, Notes & GIBBY Winners

A few rumors and news notes from Day Two...

  • Jon Heyman of CBS Sports Baseball Insider reports that the Bucs are one of several teams that have kicked the tires of 3B Eric Chavez.
  • Buster Olney of ESPN writes that "Pirates are resuming talks here about possibly signing James Loney," so maybe there's a little more than smoke coming from that hot stove.
  • There are Plan Bs. From Fox Sports Ken Rosenthal: "Hottest teams on LoMo (1B Logan Morrison), per source: Brewers, Pirates, and Mariners. Others also involved." 
  • You can scratch Mark Trumbo from the Bucco wish list. Mark Piecoro of the Arizona Republic reports a three way trade involving him: "The D-backs will be getting Trumbo and two PTBNL, OF Adam Eaton to the White Sox, and pitchers Tyler Skaggs and Hector Santiago to the Angels." 
  • Well, that was quick. Rob Biertempfel of the Trib understands "From what I'm hearing today, the Pirates probably are out on Bronson Arroyo."
  • GM Neal Huntington confirmed to the media that first base is the spot they're concentrating on. He also said that the bullpen is in play as trade pieces, and mentioned Wandy Rodriguez has started a throwing program and is on schedule to be ready for camp. NH added that the Bucs weren't counting on Gregory Polanco in 2014, though we expect that's more to temper the fans' fire a bit than actual Pirate expectations.
  • Clint Hurdle was a guest on MLB Network's Hot Stove show, discussing the "State of the Pirates."
  • Pittsburgh took three GIBBY (Greatness In Baseball Yearly awards): Mark Melancon won the set-up player of the year, Francisco Liriano took home the comeback player honors, and the Pirates were selected as the storyline of the year for their October run.
  • Jon Morosi of Fox Sports tweets that Felix Pie is nearing an agreement with Hanwah Eagles of the Korean League.
  • Jason Bay might be headed to Japan to play with Yomiuri Giants, per Greg Johns of MLB.com.
  • OF Rajai Davis, whose trade to the Giants in 2007 for Matt Morris finally upended Dave Littlefield's applecart, has signed a two year deal with Detroit worth a reported $9-10M. 
  • The Bucs announced their full schedule of events and players for Pirate Fest at the DLL Convention Center December 14-15th.

12/10: No More Wet One, Bob Priddy, Forbes Field History, Dale Sveum, Derek Bell, Catcher Swap, Bobby Crosby...

No More Wet One, Bob Priddy, Forbes Field History, Dale Sveum, Derek Bell, Catcher Swap, Bobby Crosby...

  • 1919 - The National League, spearheaded by the leadership of Pirates owner Barney Dreyfuss, banned the spitball, which he believed was an unfair advantage against hitters. Old wet tossers were registered and spared through a grandfather clause. The AL initially resisted, then passed their own ban the following season. 
  • 1939 - RHP Bob Priddy was born in McKees Rocks. He only spent his first two seasons with the Pirates (1962, 1964; 2-2-1, 3.86 ERA, 37-⅓ IP), but had a nine-year career with the San Francisco Giants, Washington Senators, Chicago White Sox, California Angels and Atlanta Braves. 

Topps 1964 - the future of Pirate pitching, Bob Priddy & Tom Butters

  • 1958 - Pitt agreed to buy Forbes Field from the Pirates and lease it to them for five years, or until a new municipal stadium is built. It took a bit longer than five years; Three Rivers Stadium wouldn't open until 1971. 
  • 1999 - Dale Sveum was signed as a free agent. He played three seasons for the Pirates (1996-97, 1999), and also managed at Altoona from 2001-03, winning an Eastern League Manager of the Year award before landing big league jobs at Milwaukee and Chicago. 
  • 2000 - In a day they came to rue, the Pirates signed free agent OF Derek Bell of "Operation Shutdown" fame to a two year contract worth $9.75M. 
  • 2008 - The Pirates, in a swap of catchers, traded Ronny Paulino to the Philadelphia Phillies for Jason Jaramillo. 
  • 2009 - The Pirates signed FA IF Bobby Crosby to a $1M deal with another $500K possible in bonus money. He hit .224, was traded to Arizona and was out of baseball after 2010.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Baseball Meeting Rumors and Notes...

Meeting Kickoff Rumors & Notes:

  • John Perrotto of Baseball Propectus has two rumors to report: the Pirates and Marlins have talked a Logan Morrison-for-Josh Harrison trade with Pirates adding a second unknown player, and that the FO ha added  Red Sox' Mike Carp to the list of left-handed-hitting first basemen in which they have some interest.
  • Rob Biertempfel of the Tribune Review tweets that the Bucs and Bronson Arroyo have mutual interest, and the brass will meet with his agent. His signing would help solidify the bottom of the rotation (John Schlegel of MLB.com wrote that "Bronson Arroyo...wasn't aware of interest from the Pirates. Says Phillies, Twins, Angels in on him." Gotta love hot stove season!) Pittsburgh could also stand one mid-to-top of the rotation guy if AJ doesn't return. Drew Silva of NBC's Hardball Talk has a short item regarding that decision.
  • Jon Morosi of Fox Sports reported some old news that the "Pirates (are) discussing multiple trade options for first base vacancy, including Adam Lind and Logan Morrison." We find it ironic that the FO would trade for Morrison, who is being replaced by a guy the Bucs let go, Garrett Jones. Then again, LoMo is entering his first arb year and predicted by MLB Trade Rumor's Matt Schwartz to be in line for a $1.7M deal, quite a bit less than what Jones was looking to haul in this season.
  • Clint Barmes is flying under the radar right now, but the Bucs, who would like to bring him back to pair with Jordy Mercer again, have been keeping in contact per Bill Brink of the Post Gazette.
  • The Indy Indians' VP/GM Cal Burleson was named the International League Executive of the Year. In addition, Baseball America named the Indians as the Triple-A recipient of the 2013 Bob Freitas Award, presented to the organization with the best overall operations at each level of Minor League Baseball. Both awards were handed out today to open the meetings.
  • The 16-member Expansion Era Committee elected Bobby Cox, Tony La Russa, and Joe Torre into the Baseball Hall of Fame. Dave Parker of the Pirates was on the ballot, but didn't come close to receiving the 12 votes needed. The BBWAA will announce its regular HoF selections in January.
  • Roy Halladay retired today as a Toronto Blue Jay.

12/9: Adam Comorosky, Doc Medich, Bye-Bye Bert, Roberto Hernandez

Not a busy day: Adam Comorosky, Doc Medich, Bye-Bye Bert, Roberto Hernandez...

1905 - OF Adam Comorosky was born in Swoyersville, in Luzerne county. He played eight years (1926-33) for the Pirates with a line of .285/26/363. For two years running in 1929 and ‘30, he was one of the hot NL bats. Over those two seasons, he hit .317 with 216 RBI and 198 runs scored, banging out 73 doubles, 34 triples and 18 homers.
1948 - RHP George “Doc” Medich was born in Aliquippa. For a local boy (he played football and baseball at Pitt), he didn’t get much Pirate love, pitching just one of his 11 big league season in Pittsburgh, going 8-11/3.52 in 1976. Doc lived up to his name. Twice as a player (once as a Pirate) he went into the stands to perform CPR on a fan, saving one of them.

Topps series 1977

1980 - The Pirates traded RHP Bert Blyleven and C Manny Sanguillen to the Indians for P Bob Owchinko‚ P Victor Cruz‚ C Gary Alexander‚ and minor league P Rafael Vasquez. Hall of Famer Blyleven would pitch 11 more seasons and win 148 more games.
2005 - The Pirates signed free agent reliever RHP Roberto Hernandez, 42, to a one year‚ $2.75M contract.

The Shopping List...

The Pirates have had a slow off season so far, filling in some depth pieces (which worked out pretty well last year) but not addressing concerns at first base, the rotation and shortstop. Here's what they'll be looking for from the baseball meetings today until camp opens in March:

First base: Gaby Sanchez is the only 1B on the roster. The Bucs are working on Plan Bs internally, with both Andrew Lambo and Jerry Sands taking an occasional turn at the sack. There is no immediate minor league help; Matt Hague isn't regarded highly enough to be on the 40-man roster, while Matt Curry is working through the system. It may be that Josh Bell will sooner or later become the answer, but in the short term, the cupboard is bare, and the Bucs have to land someone during the off season.

James Loney is probably the best market guy available as a platoon partner with Gaby. He's said to looking for a three-year, $27M deal, and several clubs have at least inquired on him. Other lefties that are available to varying degrees are Logan Morrison, Mitch Moreland, Adam Lind, Justin Smoak, Mike Morse and Mark Trumbo.

Pitching: AJ is keeping the Bucs hanging on, and our guess is the longer he waits, the more likely he is to hang 'em up. It looks like he's keeping to his word to return or retire; his name hasn't come up on any other teams' wish list.

The Bucs have a core of Francisco Liriano, Gerrit Cole and Charlie Morton returning. Whether Wandy Ridriguez or Jeff Locke can be counted on as major contributors in 2014 is problematic. Jeanmar Gomez and Stolmy Pimentel will be in the mix for back end jobs, with Jameson Taillon and possibly Nick Kingham potential mid-to-late season additions. The injured Kyle McPherson was DFA'ed, and the Bucs would like to sign him to a minor league deal.

There's not a lot left on the market (Bartolo Colon, Bronson Arroyo, Chris Capuano, Matt Garza, Jason Hammel, Tommy Hanson, John Lannon, Johan Santana, Edison Volquez, Jake Westbrook, Jerome Williams) the Pirates may swing a deal after the rosters begin to fill up around the league. They will add here; if you recall, they started last season with more starters than stars in the sky, but were scuffling for arms by season's end.

Shortstop: The Pirates could go a couple of different ways here. We'd expect Plan A to be bringing back Clint Barmes as Jordy Mercer's platoon partner but at a reserve's salary. Barmes is testing out free agancy, and his market value will determine if he remains as a Pirate. 

Plan B would be to make Mercer a super infield sub and deal for a starter (there are none in the FA market except Stephen Drew, who isn't in the Pirates comfort zone, costing a draft pick and a hefty deal). There are several young guys that Pittsburgh could target, but they may be price prohibitive, so Jordy could end up #1 by default.

The Bucs have several good glove, no hit guys in the system and one guy rising with a star in Alen Hansen, whose ETA is 2015. 

The FO has cleared up a couple of other spots. It looks like right field will be covered in-house until Gregory Polanco arrives by some combo of Jose Tabata, Andrew Lambo, Travis Snider and Jaff Decker. There wasn't much available, and the spot is a keep-warm position for Polanco, as not only the Bucs but the FA outfielders around the league all know. So staying in-house is the sensible route to take.

They also made it obvious that they think Tony Sanchez needs more work. An argument could be made that he'd be better served as a reserve, catching the MLB pitchers and acclimating to a full season in the show,  but the brass want him to get regular innings at Indy and swung a deal for Chris Stewart to serve as Russ Martin's caddy in 2014.

They also are keeping to their commitment to build depth, especially at pitching, bringing in a handful of guys already. It paid off in spades in 2013, and their player evaluation skills for pitchers was quite sharp last season.

Don't expect the pen to remain static; a couple of multi-year contracts have been doled out to mid-relievers, and that makes guys under control like Tony Watson and Justin Wilson especially valuable trade pieces.

Looking at the market, we don't see the Bucs diving in; Loney looks like the only major piece they have an eye on. But with some bullpen bangles to go with strong minor-league pitching and outfielder prospects, they are positioned to make a trade or two to strengthen the club.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Random Stuff Before the Baseball Meeting...

Bucco Baseball Stuff...

  • David Schoenfield of ESPN's Sweet Spot has three questions for the Pirates... 
  • Zach Morrison of Rant Sports has five moves the Bucs could make at the baseball meetings; none are a surprise.
  • Clint Hurdle is already at the baseball meetings, scheduled to begin tomorrow.
  • Garrett Jones is reported to have signed with the Marlins for two years/$7.5M. 
  • 1B Mike Napoli, who would have fit the Bucs perfectly, signed back up with the Red Sox on a reported two year/$32M deal. He reportedly turned down a three-year offer to return to Boston, so he was never a likely Pirate prospect.
  • The Nats signed Nate McLouth for two years/$10.75M with a $6.5M club option year.
  • Chad Qualls, who was banged around briefly as Buc in 2012, signed a two year/$6M deal including an option with the Astros after cleaning up his mechanics post-Pittsburgh.

12/8: Best Trade Ever, Pags, More Trades, Bonds Goes, Non-Arb...

Best Trade Ever, Pags, More Trades, Bonds Goes, Non-Arb...

  • 1899 - Barney Dreyfuss traded a dozen players from the Louisville Colonels to Pittsburgh (Jack Chesbro, George Fox, Art Madison, John O'Brien and $25,000 went to Louisville for Fred Clarke, Bert Cunningham, Mike Kelley, Tacks Latimer, Tommy Leach, Tom Messitt, Deacon Phillippe, Claude Ritchey, Rube Waddell, Jack Wadsworth, Honus Wagner and Chief Zimmer, with Chesbro getting assigned back to Pittsburgh for the 1900 season). He then took over the Pirates after the deal, in effect transferring the core of his old team to his new one. They became one of the powerhouse clubs of the early 1900's. 
  • 1937 - C Jim Pagliaroni was born in Dearborn. Pags caught for the Bucs from 1963-67, sometimes starting and sometimes in platoon. He hit .254 during his Pittsburgh time and still has the record for most homers hit by a Pirate catcher in a season at 17, set in 1965. Injuries and reports that he wanted to be traded resulted in his contract being sold to Oakland. 
  • 1947 - In a what-were-they-thinking deal, the Pirates traded IF Billy Cox, IF Gene Mauch and P Preacher Roe to the Brooklyn Dodgers for P Hal Gregg, P Vic Lombardi and OF Dixie Walker. None of the former Dodgers lasted past 1950 in Pittsburgh, while Cox and Roe would become mainstays in Brooklyn. The impetus for the deal was reportedly provided by Walker, who didn’t want to play with Jackie Robinson at the time, but was to later salute his talents. Dixie was the key to the deal; he played one more year, hitting .318, and then retired. 
  • 1948 - The Bucs traded IF Frankie Gustine and RHP Cal McLish to the Chicago Cubs for LHP Cliff Chambers and C Clyde McCullough. Gustine was a three-time All Star for Pittsburgh at the end of his career; he would later open an Oakland restaurant on Forbes Avenue. McLish would go on to win 92 games in the next 11 years, including 19 for Cleveland in 1959. The Pirates unloaded Chambers the following year, while McCullough spent four years in Pittsburgh, batting .258. 

1943 Play Ball Series; image from Baseball Almanac

  • 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, the traded Oliver and Norman for Blyleven and Milner. 
  • 1992 - The Barry Bonds era ended when he signed a FA contract with the San Francisco Giants worth a then-record $43.75M over six years after playing seven seasons in Pittsburgh. 
  • 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. 
  • 2005 - The Reds traded 1B Sean Casey to the Pirates for LHP David Williams.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

12/7: Deacon White, Connie Mack, Hal Smith, Gene Woodling, Erik Bedard...

Deacon White, Connie Mack, Hal Smith, Gene Woodling, Erik Bedard...

  • 1847 - Hall of Famer C/3B Deacon White was born in Caton, NY. He played as a 41 year old for the Pittsburgh Alleghenys in 1889, and lasted one more season before ending his 20-year career with the Buffalo Bisons, retiring with a .312 BA. 
  • 1937 - Connie Mack, who caught for and managed Pittsburgh briefly (1894-1896), was announced as as a selection of the Centennial Commission to the Hall of Fame. His induction ceremony took place on June 12th, 1939 when the Hall officially opened. 
  • 1930 - C Hal Smith was born in West Frankfort, Illinois. Although the backup catcher only played two seasons (1960-61) in Pittsburgh, his three run homer in the seventh game of the 1960 World Series, overshadowed by Maz’s dramatic walk-off, may have been the key blow of the entire set. Mel Allen called it "one of the most dramatic base hits in the history of the World Series." It put the Bucs up 8-6 after eight innings and set the stage for Maz, whose blow nudged Smith from the history books. 

 Hal Smith photo from the Brookline Connection

  • 1946 - The Indians sent rosy-cheeked OF Gene Woodling to Pittsburgh for veteran C Al Lopez. Lopez played just 61 games in 1947‚ and Woodling spent a season as a reserve, hitting .266, before the Pirates sent him to the minor league San Francisco Seals. Woodling joined the Yankees in 1949, and when he finally hung up his spikes in 1962, he had a 17 year career with three All-Star nods, five World Series rings and a lifetime .288 BA under his belt. 
  • 2012 - The Pirates signed free agent LHP Érik Bédard to a 1 year/$4.5M contract. After going 7-14/5.01, he was released in August.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Heading Into the Baseball Meetings...

Might not be much dealin' left to do at next week's (December 9-12) baseball meetings...

  • Eno Sarris of Fangraphs says the key to James Loney improving the Pirates performance at first base is...Gaby Sanchez.
  • The Marlins are popping up in Pittsburgh's off season. The Miami Herald Sports Buzz's Barry Jackson linked the Fish to Garrett Jones; if they sign him, that would free Logan Morrison for trade. Then, they inked IF Raphael Furcal, who the Pirates had checked on. 
  • While on The Fan radio show today with Ken Pompeani, Clint Hurdle said the door hasn't shut on AJ, and that the team is still in contact with him. 
  • According to the Baseball America tracker, the Bucs have lost three more minor league players: RHP Brooks Brown signed with the Rockies, C Ali Solis went to the Rays and 2B Oscar Tejedas moved to the Nats.
  • The Rangers signed RHPs Jose Contreras and Nathan Adcock, both well-traveled with stops in the Bucco system, to minor league contracts with an invitation to spring training.
  • Jonah Keri of Grantland has a series on the trade value of players; he has Gerrit Cole and Cutch as two of the top values in MLB. 
  • The latest big deal of the day: The Mariners and Robinson Cano reportedly agreed on a 10-year, $240M contract, according to Enrique Rojas of ESPNDeportes.com. (article in Spanish).