Friday, February 1, 2019

2/1 From 1950: Cruz, Armas Signed; Gotay Traded; HBD Ernie, Jim, Cecilio & Stolmy

  • 1955 - RHP Ernie Camacho was born in Salinas, California. He send 10 years in the show, stopping off in Pittsburgh early in his voyage in 1981 when the Bucs sent Bob Owchinko to Oakland to get him. He spent most of his time with AAA Portland, getting into seven Pirates games with an 0-1, 4.98 slash. He was swapped, along with SS Vance Law, to the Chicago White Sox for P Ross Baumgarten and minor-leaguer Butch Edge in April of the following campaign. Ernie was a guy the Bucs had wanted; they drafted him as a 14th round pick back in 1975 out of Hartnell College, but he didn’t sign with them and instead went to the Athletics in the first round the next year. 
Ernie Camacho (photo via Mainline Autographs)
  • 1960 - RHP Cecilio Guante was born in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. The righty was a bridge guy for Pittsburgh for five seasons (1982-86) and went 13-17-20/3.06 in that role before being traded to the Yankees as part of the Doug Drabek deal. Cecilio was a tough guy to miss on the mound - he had a big “G” (for Guante) covering the web of his glove. It was fitting, though - guante, in Spanish, translates as glove. 
  • 1961 - Pitching wizard Jim Benedict was born in Burbank, California. After tossing in the KC system, he managed and coached in the college ranks. In 1990, he joined the Rangers, then from 1994-2000 was the minor league pitching coordinator for the Expos and Dodgers. Jim became a scout and Special Assistant to the GM for the Yankees for five years. In 2007-2008, he scouted for the Indians. In late 2008, he joined the Pirates as Special Assistant to the GM. He helped turn around the pitching and in 2015 was hired away by the Miami Marlins as the VP of pitching; now he’s with the Cubs. 
  • 1965 - The Pirates traded IF Julio Gotay to the California Angels for CF Bob Perry. Gotay would go on to play for five more years as a backup infielder, mainly with Houston, batting .263, while Perry spent the next six years in the minors, suiting up for four organizations before hangin’ ’em up after the 1970 campaign at age 35. 
  • 1990 - RHP Stolmy Pimentel was born in San Cristobal, Dominican Republic. He was a Buc from 2013-14, coming over from the Red Sox and going 2-1 with a 4.50 ERA. The old Sox Prospects scouting report on him held true: “Excellent overall stuff, but struggles with the consistency...” He was released, tossed briefly for Texas in 2015, and was out of MLB after a season in the Mets farm system/Mexico. He tossed some morer in the Latino leagues and was out of baseball after 2017. 
Tony Armas Jr. 2007 Upper Deck
  • 2007 - The Pirates signed free agent RHP Tony Armas Jr., 28, for $3.5M, with a 2008 option for the same amount w/$500K buyout. He was the first MLB FA signing of the offseason for the Bucs. Hoped to be a veteran back-ender for a young staff, he instead started the season 0–3/8.92 and was dropped from the rotation. The Pirates got a 4-5, 6.03 line from him with just 97 IP and bought him out after the year. Tony tossed three times for the Mets in 2008, and that ended his MLB career after 10 seasons. 
  • 2012 - 33-year-old RHP Juan Cruz agreed a $1.25M contract with the Pirates, earning a spot on the team as a non-roster invitee and finishing the campaign with a solid 1-1-3/2.78 line with 14 holds. But his 4.19 FIP, 1.626 WHIP and five walks per nine painted a clearer picture of his performance and he was released in late August to end his last season in the majors.

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