- 1985 - Bobby Bonilla, who the Bucs signed out of high school in 1981, was taken by the Chicago White Sox in the Rule 5 draft. The Pirates got Bobby Bo back in July of the following year, but it cost them RHP Jose DeLeon. Syd Thrift had signed him as a scout and reeled him back in as GM. It was worth it - from 1986 to 1991, Bonilla had a .284 BA with 114 home runs and 500 RBI's. He also made the All-Star team four years in a row before leaving town.
|Pedro Florimon 2016 (photo Dave Arrigo/Pirates)|
- 1986 - SS Pedro Florimon was born in La Romana, Dominican Republic. Pedro has turned a good glove into a seven-year MLB career, starting for Minnesota in 2013, but his bat has relegated him to a journeyman depth guy. In his two seasons with Pittsburgh (2015-16), he mostly stayed busy in AAA while getting into 42 games with the Pirates, hitting just .149 over that span.
- 1999 - Dale Sveum was signed as a free agent. He played three seasons for the Pirates (1996-97, 1999/.260 BA), and also managed at Altoona from 2001-03, winning an Eastern League Manager of the Year award before landing big league skipper jobs with the Brewers and Cubs. He’s now Kansas City’s bench coach.
- 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. Bell left the team during camp in 2002 after hitting .173 in his first campaign and never played in the majors again. The Pirates paid him $4.5M to go away when they cut him; Bell just moved onto his yacht and sailed into the sunset.
|Derek Bell 2002 Fleer Tradition|
- 2008 - The Pirates, in a swap of catchers, traded Ronny Paulino to the Philadelphia Phillies for Jason Jaramillo. Paulino and manager John Russell weren’t on each others Christmas card list after JR appointed Ryan Doumit as the everyday catcher, and Jaramillo had impressed Russell from his days as the Phils AAA manager. The change of scenery didn’t particularly help either player (or team). Ronny played for four more years, never sniffing 100 games/season, and hit .265 over that span while JJ caught three seasons for the Bucs with a .235 BA in 119 games.
- 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. He left the majors with a whimper, but entered baseball with a bang, having won the AL Rookie of the Year Award with Oakland in 2005.
- 2013 - Pittsburgh took three GIBBY (Greatness In Baseball Yearly awards): RHP Mark Melancon won the set-up player of the year, LHP Francisco Liriano took home the comeback player honors, and the Pirates were selected as the storyline of the year for their playoff run.
|Antonio Bastardo 2015 Topps|
- 2014 - The Pirates traded minor league LHP Joely Rodriguez to the Phillies for LHP set up man Antonio Bastardo. It was a dominoes effect deal, with Bastardo filling a hole in the bullpen caused when southpaw Justin Wilson was traded to the Yankees. Bastardo put up a 4-1-1/2.98 slash in 66 Pirate outings while Rodriguez was removed from the Phil’s 40 man roster and assigned back to the minors after a rough 2015 AAA season. The Pirates lost Antonio to free agency in 2016, but brought him back to town in a deadline deal. He went 3-0, 4.13 in his second coming before the wheels came off in 2017 and he was released with the Pirates eating the remainder of his $6.625M contract.
- 2015 - The Bucs signed free agent RHP Juan Nicasio, who spent 2015 in the LA Dodgers' bullpen (1-3-1/3.86), to a one-year/$3M contract, with an arb season remaining for 2017. After a spotty stint in the rotation (5-5, 5.05), Juan returned to the pen where he was 5-2 with a 3.88 ERA. To make room on the roster, the Pirates DFA’ed former #1 pick (fourth overall) of 2009, C Tony Sanchez, who played over parts of three seasons in 51 games, hitting .259. Nicasio had a strong 2017 campaign working exclusively from the pen, but the Pirates lost him, with no return, on August waivers after the front office blew earlier chances to move him because of the dreaded paralysis by analysis.