Pittsburgh Pirates Trade History: The San Diego Padres Edition

Earlier today we posted about Pittsburgh Pirates outfielder Al Martin, who is celebrating his 53rd birthday today. When he left the Pirates, it was via a trade with the San Diego Padres, making today a perfect day to continue our series covering the Pittsburgh Pirates Trade History. If you’re new to this series, I’ll explain the criteria for being included here. Any trade between the two clubs that included players on both sides, with at least one player who played in the majors, will be mentioned below. That means no waiver pickups, no player purchases or trades involving career minor league players. For the Pirates and Padres, there have been 13 qualified trades since 1969.

Starting with the oldest trade first, the two teams hooked up for the first time on March 28, 1969, 11 days before the Padres played their first ever regular season game. The Pirates sent pitcher Tommie Sisk and catcher Chris Cannizzaro to San Diego for veteran infielder Bobby Klaus and outfielder Ron Davis. This trade was a bad start for the Pirates in this relationship. They received a .234 average in 62 games from Davis and nothing from Klaus. Cannizzaro was an All-Star in 1969 and he did much better in 1970, before being traded in a deal that worked out fine for the Padres. Sisk pitched 143 innings for the Padres in 1969 and he did a mediocre job, before being traded. It wasn’t a major loss for the Pirates, but it was a loss none the less.

On August 10, 1971, the Pirates made a good trade with the Padres. They got pitcher Bob Miller for pitcher Ed Acosta and outfielder Johnny Jeter. The Padres didn’t do poorly, but the trade helped the Pirates win a World Series. Jeter put up 1.1 WAR in two seasons in San Diego, then was dealt straight up for Vincente Romo (brother of Enrique), who gave the Padres two sold seasons as a reliever. Acosta also had decent results over two seasons, though that ended up being his last time in the majors. Miller gave the Pirates a 1.29 ERA in 16 appearances in 1971, followed by a 2.65 ERA in 36 games the next season.

It took nine years for the third trade to happen. The Pirates acquired infielder Kurt Bevacqua and pitcher Mark Lee in exchange for minor league 1B/OF Rick Lancellotti and minor league infielder Luis Salazar. The Pirates were getting the two big league players in the deal and it did not work out. Lancellotti only played 36 big league games over three seasons, so he wasn’t much of a loss. However, Salazar went on to play 1,302 games in the majors over 13 seasons. He spent five years with the Padres, then they used him as part of a deal to acquire Cy Young winner LaMarr Hoyt. Bevacqua had a -0.1 WAR in 51 games over two seasons in Pittsburgh before being released. He then re-signed with the Padres. Lee had a 3.20 ERA in 25.1 innings with the Pirates before he was sold to the Detroit Tigers.

The next trade was truly awful for the Pirates and one mistake you never hear about. They gave up pitcher Dave Dravecky for infielder Bobby Mitchell right before Opening Day in 1981. Both players were minor leaguers at the time. Mitchell had three seasons in Triple-A, while Dravecky put up solid results as a 24-year-old starter in Double-A in 1980. Mitchell spent three seasons in Triple-A for the Pirates and put up decent results in 1981, then dropped a bit in the next two years. He never played in the majors, though it is a bit surprising that he never got any big league time at all. Dravecky was a big league starter by 1982 and an All-Star by 1983. A horrific series of arm injuries ruined his baseball career, but not before he put up 14.2 WAR in his six full seasons in the majors. The Pirates could have used those results during that 1982-87 time period.

Right before Opening Day in 1986, the Pirates sent outfielder Marvell Wynne to San Diego for pitcher Bob Patterson. The Pirates did well here, getting six years from Patterson, including 169 appearances during the 1990-92 playoff run. Wynne put up a .698 OPS in four seasons with the Padres, and he had -1.1 WAR after leaving Pittsburgh. The Padres did get a little return from him in 1989 when he was dealt to the Chicago Cubs with the aforementioned Luis Salazar.

The Pirates acquired catcher Brian Dorsett on August 2, 1991 for minor league pitcher Lynn Carlson. This trade went nowhere for either team. Dorsett had five partial seasons in the majors at the time, including earlier in 1991, but he was in the minors the entire time with the Pirates, lasting through the end of the 1992 season. He ended up playing three more seasons in the majors after leaving the Pirates via free agency. Carlson finished out the season in Low-A and never played again.

On March 29, 1997, the Padres traded outfielder Mark Smith and minor league pitcher Hal Garrett for outfielder Trey Beamon and infielder Angel Encarnacion. This trade didn’t amount to much, despite four players in the deal. Garrett lasted one season for the Pirates and never played in the majors. Encarnacion played 11 big league games after the deal. Beamon lasted 71 big league games after the deal, while Smith was the big get here. He hit .249 with 11 homers in 130 games over two seasons before leaving via free agency. Smith is forever etched in Pirates history, despite his limited time with the team. He hit the walk-off homer that won the ten-inning no-hitter by Francisco Cordova and Ricardo Rincon.

On February 23, 2000, the Pirates traded outfielder Al Martin (and cash) for minor leaguers Geraldo Padua, Jim Sak and veteran outfielder John Vander Wal. Martin was coming off of a strong 1999 season and this was an uninspiring return for him. However, it worked out fine when he ended up playing just three more seasons in the majors, compiling a total of 1.0 WAR. His offense was solid the first year, but his poor defense dragged down his overall value. Sak and Padua never made it to the majors, but Vander Wal surprised with a career year, hitting .299 with 24 homers and 99 RBIs. He was then traded mid-2000 in a deal with the San Francisco Giants. The Martin trade wasn’t a major win for the Pirates, but they did get the best of the deal.

In the middle of 2000, the Pirates traded minor league pitcher Andy Bausher for pitcher Dan Serafini.  Bausher wasn’t having success in High-A at 23 years old and he never made the majors, though he did advance to Triple-A. Serafini made 11 starts for the Pirates, going 2-5, 4.91 in 62.1 innings. The 2000 Pirates were bad, so he was basically just filling innings for them, with the hope that he could possibly tap into that upside that earned him a first round pick out of high school. The Pirates released him during the following Spring Training.

On July 10, 2001, the Pirates sent outfielder Emil Brown to San Diego for minor league outfielder Shawn Garrett and minor league pitcher Shawn Camp. Two players named Shawn in the deal and the second minor leaguer named Garrett acquired by the Pirates. Those coincidences didn’t help, as Garrett never made the majors and Camp was released via free agency before he reached the big leagues. He went on to have an 11-year career in the majors, though some very rough seasons limited him to 2.0 WAR in his career. Brown played five partial seasons with the Pirates and it didn’t take long for the Padres to move on from him. He had 15 plate appearances in 13 games, then didn’t play in the majors again until 2005. He had a few big seasons at the plate for the Kansas City Royals, though his defensive liabilities limited his value.

The big trade between the two franchises happened on August 26, 2003 and involved superstar outfielder Brian Giles for three young players, outfielder Jason Bay, pitcher Oliver Perez and pitcher Corey Stewart. The Pirates were giving up their best player in quite some time, though he only had two full years left on his deal. Giles put up 9.7 WAR in his 2+ seasons before free agency, then he re-signed with the Padres for four years and had 8.1 WAR (and a bigger contract). Bay immediately blossomed for the Pirates, compiling 15.1 WAR in his 5+ seasons before being traded in an even bigger deal in 2008.

While Bay for Giles even up would have been enough to give the Pirates the win in this deal, especially considering the cost difference, Perez had a magical 2004 season that thrilled fans. His numbers dropped off quickly and the Pirates flipped him for outfielder Xavier Nady before he value completely dropped off. It was perfect timing, as the New York Mets paid a lot of money for 1.0 WAR from Perez over five seasons. Nady outplayed him in Pittsburgh, then was part of the big trade with the New York Yankees that brought back four players. Stewart was a player to be named later in the deal, who never made the majors.

In 2005, the Pirates traded catcher David Ross for infielder JJ Furmaniak. This deal proved to be not much for either team. Ross is well known for his time in baseball, but he compiled just 9.6 WAR in 11+ seasons after the deal (had 0.4 in four years prior), and he only lasted 11 games with the Padres. Furmaniak had him beat, playing 13 games with the Pirates. He was let go after the 2006 season.

In November of 2005, the Pirates traded the popular Bobby Hill for minor league pitcher Clayton Hamilton, who never made the majors. I’m not 100% sure why this deal happened, but it didn’t hurt the Pirates because Hill never played in the majors again. I’m sure he would have if he stayed with the Pirates, a perennial 95-loss team at the time. Would have been nice to get more of a return on the Aramis Ramirez deal, but I digress.

Since 2005, the two clubs have made just one trade, with the Pirates acquiring outfielder Jaff Decker and pitcher Miles Mikolas for minor league outfielder Alex Dickerson on November 25, 2013. Decker saw limited time over two seasons with the Pirates and Mikolas was flipped for first baseman Chris McGuinness before the calendar hit 2014. Mikolas did poorly in Texas, then went to Japan for three years, before coming back looking like Cy Young…for one year. He led the NL in wins in 2018 and losses in 2019, then missed the first year of his 4 year/$68 M deal with the St Louis Cardinals due to injury. Dickerson battled through injuries before and after the deal. He just had a strong season for the San Francisco Giants, but the Padres had him until mid-2019 and received 0.6 WAR total.

There you have it. Most of the deals resulted in nothing. The Pirates won the big trade and the Bob Miller trade helped them win a World Series title, while the deals of Salazar and Dravecky were both one-sided losses. The first trade was also pretty bad. Overall, the teams have been fairly even in the overall trade values here.