A busy day for Pittsburgh Pirates history that includes six birthdays and 26 trades of note between 1987 and 2019, all listed below. We also have a game of note from 1992.
J.J. Furmaniak, infielder for the 2005 Pirates. He was originally a 22nd round draft pick in 2000 out of Lewis University by the San Diego Padres. It’s a school that has produced six MLB players, but Furmaniak was the last player drafted from the school, which still has a baseball team. At 20 years old in 2000, he joined Idaho Falls of the short-season Pioneer League and hit .343 with 72 runs, 25 extra-base hits, 44 walks and a .940 OPS in 62 games. The next year he moved up to Class-A Fort Wayne of the Midwest League, where he batted just .220 with 32 extra-base hits and a .632 OPS in 123 games. The Padres promoted him to High-A anyway the next year and Furmaniak hit .257 with 29 extra-base hits in 106 games, while playing in the hitter-friendly California League with Lake Elsinore. He improved to a .697 OPS, but despite a 37-point increase in his average, his OBP was just two points higher due to a huge drop in his walk rate. He repeated the level in 2003 and did much better, batting .314 with 39 extra-base hits and a .922 OPS in 78 games. He also saw 31 games in Double-A and had a .744 OPS for Mobile of the Southern League. After the season, he was sent to the Arizona Fall League.
Furmaniak spent a majority of the 2004 season in Triple-A, where he batted .294 with 71 runs, 24 doubles, 17 homers, 73 RBIs and an .838 OPS in 120 games, while playing for Portland in the Pacific Coast League. He also played 14 games back in Mobile and had a .638 OPS, so he really improved as he moved up a level. He played in the San Diego minor league system until July 28, 2005, when the Pirates acquired him in exchange for David Ross. Furmaniak had a .266 average and a .761 OPS in 99 games for Portland at the time of the trade. He went to Triple-A Indianapolis of the International League after the deal, where he hit .288 in 36 games with 21 RBIs and an alarming 4:32 BB/K ratio. The Pirates called him up in September and he hit .192 in 13 games, seeing time at both shortstop and second base. He spent all of 2006 with Indianapolis, hitting just .213/.266/.310 in 114 games, with 109 of those games as the team’s shortstop. He became a free agent in October of 2006, and he signed a few weeks later with the Oakland A’s.
Furmaniak spent most of the 2007 season with Sacramento of the PCL, where he hit .293 with an .824 OPS and 21 steals, which was a season high for him. He played 16 games with the 2007 A’s, hitting .177/.364/.235 and seeing time at five different positions. That ended up being his last time in the majors. He spent the 2008 season playing in Japan, where he had a .707 OPS in 89 games. He then returned to the U.S. in 2009 and played minor league ball up until 2011. He spent the 2009 season in Triple-A for the Philadelphia Phillies, and the 2010-11 seasons were spent with the Tampa Bay Rays, mostly with Triple-A Durham of the International League. He played a total of 1,212 games over his 12-year career in the minors, not including his AFL stint and time in Japan. Furmaniak’s big league career consisted of a .186 average in 29 games, with eight runs and two RBIs.
Mike Bielecki, pitcher for the 1984-87 Pirates. He was a first round draft pick in 1979 by the Pirates in the June Secondary draft out of Valencia Community College. The Kansas City Royals had previous selected him in the January draft that year in the sixth round. He began in the Gulf Coast League at 19 years old and had a 2.29 ERA in 51 innings over nine starts. He moved up to Class-A in 1980 and pitched mostly out of the bullpen, making six starts in his 29 appearances. He went 3-5, 4.55 with three saves and 78 strikeouts in 99 innings for Shelby of the South Atlantic League. He was a starter the next year with Greenwood of the South Atlantic League and had a solid season, going 12-11, 3.42, with 163 strikeouts in 192 innings. He completed ten of his 28 starts, including two shutouts. Bielecki skipped to Double-A in his fourth season, but he needed to repeat the level the next year. He went 7-12, 4.86, with 135 strikeouts in 157.1 innings over 25 starts (four complete games) for Buffalo of the Eastern League in 1982. The second season at Double-A (Lynn of the Eastern League) would be his breakout year. He went 15-7, 3.19 in 25 starts, striking out 143 batters in 163.2 innings. Bielecki was even better in Triple-A in 1984 with Hawaii of the Pacific Coast League, going 19-3, 2.97 in 28 starts, with nine complete games, two shutouts and 162 strikeouts in 187.2 innings. He made his Major League debut that September, throwing four scoreless relief appearances, totaling 4.1 innings.
Bielecki made the Opening Day roster for the 1985 Pirates, but he struggled through the middle of May, and returned to Triple-A until September. He went 8-6, 3.83 in 20 starts for Hawaii, with 111 strikeouts in 129.1 innings. He finished the big league season with a 2-3, 4.53 record in 45.2 innings over seven starts and five relief appearances. He was with the Pirates for a full season in 1986, responding with a 6-11, 4.66 record in 148.2 innings over 27 starts and four relief outings. He failed to complete a game and had the same amount of walks (83) as strikeouts. Bielecki was back in Triple-A (Vancouver of the PCL) to start the 1987 season. He went 12-10, 3.78 in 26 starts, with 140 strikeouts in 181 innings. He rejoined the Pirates in late August for eight starts and had a 4.73 ERA, while matching his 45.2 innings from the previous split season in 1985. Just prior to Opening Day in 1988, the Pirates sent him to the Chicago Cubs for minor league pitcher Mike Curtis. For the Pirates, the deal looked horrible short-term. By 1989, Bielecki was winning 18 games for the Cubs. However, in his next eight seasons combined, he had a 40-46 record. He jumped around the majors, including three stints with the Atlanta Braves.
Bielecki went 2-2, 3.35 in 48.1 innings for the 1988 Cubs, making five starts and 14 relief appearances, while spending half of the year with Iowa of the Triple-A American Association. He made 33 big league starts in 1989, going 18-7, 3.14 in 212.1 innings, with three shutouts and 147 strikeouts, which was easily his career high. He received mild Cy Young support that year, finishing ninth in the voting. His results dropped off the next year, with an 8-11, 4.93 record in 168 innings. He was put in the bullpen two different times during the year, the first after posting a 5.75 ERA in his first 18 starts. Bielecki was slightly better in 1991, posting a 13-11, 4.50 record in 172 innings, before a trade right before the end of the season sent him to the Atlanta Braves to help their playoff push. He pitched two games for the Braves in 1991 and threw 1.2 shutout innings, then had a solid season for them in 1992, with a 2.57 ERA in 80.2 innings over 14 starts and five relief appearances. He did not pitch in the postseason against the Pirates that year.
Bielecki became a free agent after the 1992 season and signed with the Cleveland Indians, where he had a 5.90 ERA in 68.2 innings over 13 starts in 1993. He was released in June and signed with the Baltimore Orioles, but never appeared with them in the majors, finishing the year with Rochester of the Triple-A International League. He signed a free agent deal with the Braves for 1994 and had a 4.00 ERA as a reliever in 27 innings over 19 appearances (one start) during the strike-shortened season. Bielecki signed with the California Angels in 1995 and made 11 starts and 11 relief appearances that year, going 4-6, 5.97 in 75.1 innings, while also seeing some minor league time. He returned to the Braves in 1996-97, pitching almost exclusively in relief (90 games, five starts). He had a 2.63 ERA in 75.1 innings in 1996, helping them to the World Series. In the postseason he pitched six times and didn’t allow a hit or run in 6.2 innings. Bielecki went 3-7, 4.08 in 57.1 innings over 50 outings in 1997. He finished up his 14-year career after the 1997 season with a final line of 70-73, 4.18 in 347 games, 178 as a starter, throwing a total of 1,231 innings. For the Pirates, Bielecki went 10-17, 4.57 in 244.1 innings over 55 games.
Frank Brosseau, pitcher for the 1969 and 1971 Pirates. He was a first round draft pick by the Pirates in 1966 out of the University of Minnesota. It was the third time he was drafted, second by the Pirates, who took him five months earlier in the second round of the January portion of the amateur draft. The Minnesota Twins took him in the 38th round of the 1965 draft. He was originally drafted as a hitter, and didn’t make his first appearance on the mound until his third season. It didn’t take long for him to reach the majors after he made the transition. Brosseau batted .176 with a .199 slugging percentage in 61 games in 1966 while playing outfield for Raleigh of the Class-A Carolina League. He played for Gastonia of the Class-A Western Carolinas League in 1967, where he hit .211 with 15 doubles, three homers and a .577 OPS in 92 games. After the switching to pitching, he went 4-4, 1.88, with 101 strikeouts in 91 innings in 1968 for Gastonia, making ten starts and ten relief appearances. He was still being used as a position player that year, batting a career high .232 in 55 games, with eight doubles, a homer and a devilishly mediocre .666 OPS.
Brosseau was in Double-A in 1969 and strictly a pitcher at that point, playing for York of the Eastern League, where he went 10-3, 1.90, with 88 strikeouts in 123 innings. He made 14 starts and eight relief appearances that year, finishing with ten complete games, two shutouts and two saves. Brosseau was a September call-up by the Pirates that season, pitching two games with vastly different results. In his first big league game he gave up two runs on two hits and two walks while recording two outs. His second appearance two weeks later was a scoreless inning in which he struck out two batters. Brosseau was back in the minors in 1970, going 4-8, 4.65, with 71 strikeouts in 91 innings with Triple-A Columbus of the International League. He made 16 starts and three relief outings, failing to pick up a complete game. The next season, he began and finished the year in Triple-A (Charleston of the International League), while making one appearance for the Pirates on June 13th. That day he threw two scoreless innings in a win over the St Louis Cardinals. Brosseau had a 5.31 ERA and a 50:50 SO/BB ratio over 83 innings with Charleston that season, and did not return to pro ball in 1972. When the Pirates split up their World Series shares in 1971, he received the lowest amount, getting $100. No one else on the team received less than $250, and full shares that year were worth $18,164.58. Brosseau told him local paper after the season that he was dealing with a sore arm during most of the season and thinks that he would have been back with the club in September if not for the injury. He was a late cut in Spring Training that year and pitched well, despite suffering a hand injury when teammate Fred Cambria closed a taxi door on his hand.
Elmer Riddle, pitcher for the 1948-49 Pirates. He had a great start to his career, but an arm injury sidelined him in his prime and derailed a possibly great career. He debuted in pro ball in 1936 at 21 years old, pitching in the Class-D Northern League for the Wausau Timberjacks, where he went 14-16, 4.25 in 237 innings. He spent most of the 1937 season in the Class-B Piedmont League with Charlotte, while also seeing a short stint in Double-A with Indianapolis of the American Association. Riddle combined to go 15-8 (no ERA is available) in 181 innings. He spent the 1938 season with Indianapolis, mostly pitching out of the bullpen. He went 3-4, 4.35 in 91 innings, with four starts and 28 relief appearances. He played for three different minor league teams in 1939 and his season ended with one appearance for the Cincinnati Reds. He had a 4.09 ERA in 11 innings with Indianapolis, an 8-6, 3.62 record in 112 innings for Birmingham of the Class-A Southern Association, and he had a 3-4 record in 60 innings (no ERA available) for Durham of the Piedmont League. Riddle threw two shutout innings in his big league debut on October 1, 1939.
Riddle was in the majors for all of 1940, but barely got a chance to pitch. He made 15 appearances (one start) spread out throughout the year, and had a 1.87 ERA in 33.2 innings for a team that won the World Series, one year after they lost the 1939 World Series. He threw a scoreless inning in his only postseason appearance. In his first real chance in the majors with the 1941 Reds, Riddle went 19-4, leading the National League with a 2.24 ERA in 216.2 innings. He made 22 starts, 11 relief appearances, and finished with 15 complete games and four shutouts. That performance earned him a fifth place finish in the NL MVP voting. He wasn’t as sharp in 1942, going 7-11, 3.69 in 158.1 innings over 19 starts and ten relief appearances. He led the NL in wins in 1943, going 21-11, 2.63 in 260.1 innings. He completed 19 of his 33 starts, including five shutouts. He made three relief appearances that year and picked up saves (not an official stat at the time) in all three games. That performance led to a seventh place finish in the MVP voting. Riddle began to experience arm troubles just four games into the 1944 season, causing him to miss the rest of the year. After throwing 26.2 innings in the previous season, he pitched just 29.2 innings in 1945, posting an 8.19 ERA.
Riddle took off from baseball in 1946, returning briefly to the Reds the following year, where he had a similar record to his performance two years earlier, with an 8.31 ERA in 30.1 innings over three starts and 13 relief appearances. The Pirates acquired him off of waivers in December of 1947, and he made a strong comeback in 1948, going 12-10, 3.49 in 191 innings. He started 27 of his 28 games, finishing with 12 complete games, three shutouts and a save in his only relief appearance. His second stint of success in the majors was short-lived. In 1949, a leg injury limited his effectiveness. After a 1-8, 5.33 season in 74.1 innings, he returned to the minors, where he played until the end of the 1952 campaign. He went to Spring Training with the 1950 Pirates, but on April 12th (six days before Opening Day), he was released outright to Indianapolis of the Triple-A American Association. He went 11-9, 4.04 in 165 innings in 1951, but his final season was limited to 17 innings. Riddle finished with 65 Major League wins, 40 of them coming during his two big years with the Reds. Over his ten seasons in the majors, he went 65-52, 3.40 in 1,023 innings over 124 starts and 66 relief appearances, with 57 complete games and 13 shutouts. His brother Johnny Riddle was a catcher in the majors for seven years, spending time as Elmer’s teammate in Cincinnati, and in 1948 with the Pirates. That makes them one of 26 groups of relatives to play for the Pirates, one of ten sets of brothers.
Erv Kantlehner, pitcher for the 1914-16 Pirates. He made his pro debut as a 19-year-old in 1912, pitching for 14 games Victoria of the Class-B Northwestern League, where he had a 2-5 record and 70 innings pitched. He put himself on the baseball map the next year while still with Victoria, going 23-16 in 49 appearances (no ERA available), with a total of 337 innings pitched. Pittsburgh purchased his contract on August 7, 1913, but let him finish the season with his minor league club before reporting to the Pirates during the following Spring Training. He was scouted by Chick Fraser, who was responsible for numerous Pirates minor league acquisitions during this era. Fraser was the brother-in-law of Pirates manager Fred Clarke. In his Major League debut on April 17, 1914, Kantlehner threw a four-hit shutout, albeit with seven walks, including three in the first inning. It remains today as the last complete game shutout for any Pirates pitcher making his MLB debut. Despite that solid first outing, he made just four more starts all year, while working out of the bullpen in his other six games. He went 3-2, 3.09 in 67 innings during his rookie year. He was used in a similar role in 1915, just pitching more often that the previous year. Kantlehner made 18 starts and 11 relief appearances in his sophomore season, with a 5-12 record, despite a strong 2.24 ERA (league average was a 2.61 ERA during that deadball era season) in 163 innings pitched. His record slipped even more in 1916 with the sixth place Pirates. In 21 starts and 16 relief outings, he went 5-15 3.16 in 165 innings. League average ERA was 2.61 that year.
Kantlehner was sold to the Philadelphia Phillies in September of 1916, and ended up pitching his last three Major League games with Philadelphia that year. He gave up four runs on seven hits and three walks in four innings with the Phillies. Kantlehner returned to the minors in 1917, pitching three more seasons before retiring. He spent the 1917 season with Indianapolis of the Double-A American Association (highest level of the minors at the time), where he had a 14-14, 3.07 record in 257 innings that year. He then played his final two years with San Francisco of the Double-A Pacific Coast League. Kantlehner played 20 games in 1918 (only his hitting stats are available), then went 2-4, 4.09 in 66 innings in 1919. His Major League ERA in three seasons was 2.84 in 399 innings, yet his record stood at 13-29 when he was done. His nickname was Dutch in the minors, but on the day he was signed by the Pirates, one of the local papers said that he will need a nickname if he sticks with the team so they don’t have to write out Kantlehner in print.
Joe Sugden, catcher for the 1893-97 Pirates. He played two years of minor league ball in Charleston, SC before making his Major League debut with the 1893 Pirates. While no stats are available from his age 21 season in 1892 when Charleston was in the South Atlantic League, he batted .271 with 59 runs and 17 extra-base hits in 73 games during the 1893 season with Charleston, then in the Class-B Southern Association. On July 14th, the Pirates purchased Sugden and pitcher Tom Colcolough from Charleston, bringing the two battery mates to the majors for the first time for each player. Sugden hit .261 in 27 games for the 1893 Pirates, finishing with 20 runs scored, seven extra-base hits and 12 RBIs. He split his time behind the plate with the great Connie Mack. The 1894 season was an extremely high offense year in baseball due to the pitcher’s box (pre-mound days) being moved back to it’s current distance, and pitchers having trouble adjusting to the distance and new rules at first. They had to pitch from a pitching rubber, instead of being able to move around the pitching box. Sugden was the backup to Mack that year, playing 39 games with a .331 average, 23 runs, 23 RBIs and a 14:2 BB/K ratio. His .900 OPS was only 36th best in the league that season.
The league batting declined slowly over the next couple of years after the peak in 1894 and Sugden showed a similar regression in his batting. He hit .304 with 28 runs and 17 RBIs in 50 games in 1895, finishing with a 161 point drop in his OPS. Sugden hit his third career homer early that year (his first came off Cy Young in 1894). He would play the rest of that year and another nine full seasons in the majors without hitting another home run. That 1895 season was followed up with a .296 average over 80 games in 1896, with his OPS dropping another 32 points down to a .707 mark. Sugden platooned with Bill Merritt for the better part of his final three seasons in Pittsburgh, the last occurring in 1897 when he hit just .222/.275/.271 in 84 games. The Pirates dealt Sugden to the St Louis Cardinals in the off-season for veteran catcher Morgan Murphy. That move, along with his switching of teams in 1899, would put him on two of the worst teams ever.
Sugden played for the 1898 Cardinals, who went 39-111. He then moved to the Cleveland Spiders for 1899, a team that went 20-134,making them the worst team in baseball history. He hit .253 with 29 runs, eight extra-base hits and 34 RBIs in 89 games during the 1898 season. He then batted .276 in 76 games for the Spiders, finishing with 19 runs, six extra-base hits and 14 RBIs. Sugden spent the 1900 season playing the the Chicago White Stockings of the American League, which became a Major League the following season. He batted .290 with 23 doubles and four triples in 121 games that year. He remained in Chicago for 1901 and hit .275 with eight extra-base hits, 19 RBIs and 21 runs scored in 48 games. He was traded to the St Louis Browns before the 1902 season and remained there for four seasons.
Sugden hit .250/.330/.305 in 68 games in 1902, which was his highest OPS during his time with the Browns. He then batted .212 with 18 runs, 22 RBIs and a .517 OPS in 79 games in 1903. He had just four extra-base hits that year, all doubles. He played a career high 105 games in 1904 and batted .267 with nine extra-base hits, 30 RBIs and 25 runs scored, while leading all American League catchers in fielding percentage. The Browns went 54-99 in 1905 and he hit just .173 in 90 games, once again collecting just four extra-base hits all season (all doubles), which gave him a .188 slugging percentage. His .435 OPS was his career low. The next six years were spent in the minors, including two years with Class-A St Paul of the American Association, and three years with Vancouver of the Northwestern League, before he made one more big league appearance. His highest average during that six-year stretch was .268 in 142 games in 1906, when he hit the only home run of his final 17 years in pro ball.
Sugden played his last Major League game on May 18, 1912 for the Detroit Tigers, a famous game in baseball history and his first big league game in seven seasons. In short, Ty Cobb had been suspended at that time and his Tiger teammates refused to play that day unless Cobb played. The Tigers had a bunch of sandlot players ready to play just in case, to go along with two coaches who played that day as well, Deacon McGuire and Sugden. The Tigers ended up losing 24-2, and Sugden went 1-for-4, while playing first base. Cobb’s suspension was reduced and things were back to normal the next day, officially ending Sugden’s playing career. In 836 big league games, he batted .255 with 283 RBIs, 303 runs scored and exactly 100 extra-base hits.
Here’s a list of Pirates transactions of note at the July 31st trading deadline:
2019: Pirates trade Corey Dickerson to the Philadelphia Phillies for international bonus pool slot space. Dickerson was both injured and coming up on free agency, so the Pirates moved on while getting slot space that allowed them to spend on the international side.
2018: Pirates trade Tyler Glasnow, Austin Meadows and Shane Baz to the Tampa Bay Rays for Chris Archer. We know, let it go already, there are plenty of good trades below. Meadows has been injured a lot and so has Glasnow, and Baz made just six starts in 2022 before going down for the season. It didn’t turn out as bad as it seems.
2018: Pirates trade minor leaguers Taylor Hearn and Sherten Apostel to the Texas Rangers for Keone Kela. This trade paired up with the Archer acquisition was supposed to help the Pirates in 2018 and beyond, since both players had control. Kela pitched well at times, but he missed a lot of time too. Hearn and Apostel have made the majors, but both have negative WAR numbers so far.
2017: Pirates acquire Joaquin Benoit from the Philadelphia Phillies for minor league pitcher Seth McGarry. This was a strange trade in that Benoit was just around for two months when the team really didn’t need a veteran arm. McGarry never made the majors, so it didn’t hurt them.
2017: Pirates trade Tony Watson for minor leaguers Oneil Cruz and Angel German. Watson on an expiring contract was a key trade piece and this trade could pay off if Oneil Cruz comes close to reaching his peak. Too early to tell, but this could end up being a great deal.
2015: Pirates trade Jose Tabata to the Los Angeles Dodgers for Mike Morse and cash. Tabata never played in the majors again and Morse played 51 games for the Pirates before being released. He had -0.2 WAR during that time.
2015: Pirates acquire JA Happ from the Seattle Mariners for minor league pitcher Adrian Sampson. This was a nice short-term pickup, as Happ went 7-2, 1.85 in 11 starts with the Pirates before becoming a free agent. Sampson was a nice prospect, who got hurt shortly after the deal and has dealt with injuries since, so it hasn’t hurt losing him for a two-month rental. He has pitched sporadically in the majors since 2016.
2012: Pirates trade 1B/3B Casey McGehee to the New York Yankees for Chad Qualls. This was a deal of two guys on short-term deals going to new teams to help with a playoff push. The Pirates really struggled late in 2012 and Qualls pitched poorly in 17 appearances. McGehee did just as bad after the deal and didn’t even play in the majors in 2013.
2012: Pirates trade Gorkys Hernandez and a draft pick to the Miami Marlins for Gaby Sanchez and minor league pitcher Kyle Kaminska. Sanchez was the key to this deal in the long run, but he couldn’t regain earlier success and he had 0.8 WAR in his 2+ seasons in Pittsburgh. Hernandez played just 45 games for the Marlins and the draft pick didn’t pay off for them.
2011: Pirates acquire Ryan Ludwick from the San Diego Padres for cash. He was a two-month rental, as the Pirates tried to make a run for the playoffs after starting off the year strong. He ended up with a .671 OPS in 38 games.
2010: Pirates trade closer Otavio Dotel to the Los Angeles Dodgers for starting pitcher James McDonald and minor league outfielder Andrew Lambo. This deal was similar to the Tony Watson deal previously mentioned. The Pirates were giving up a rental reliever for upside minor leaguers. Both saw some minor league success and time with the Pirates, but neither helped much in the long run. McDonald made 77 starts with decent results, while Lambo struggled a bit in the majors and was sidetracked by injuries.
2010: Pirates trade lefty specialist Javier Lopez to the San Francisco Giants for outfielder John Bowker and pitcher Joe Martinez. Lopez ended up pitching well for the Giants through 2016, though the Pirates were giving up two months of service. Both Bowker and Martinez played briefly for the Pirates with no success.
2009: Pirates send reliever D.J. Carrasco, shortstop Bobby Crosby and outfielder Ryan Church to the Arizona Diamondbacks for catcher Chris Snyder and minor league shortstop Pedro Ciriaco. There was a lot to this deal, but it ended up being almost nothing for either team in the long run. A back injury limited Snyder’s effectiveness and Ciriaco never got a real shot, while all three of the Arizona players were elsewhere by 2010.
2008: Jason Bay is sent to the Boston Red Sox as part of a three-way deal with the Los Angeles Dodgers, that saw the Pirates acquire third baseman Andy LaRoche, outfielder Brandon Moss, relief pitcher Craig Hansen and minor league starter Bryan Morris. Bay had a year and two months on his contract remaining and he was an All-Star player, so his price was high. The return fell flat, with Hansen suffering an injury that basically ended his career, while LaRoche and Moss were two former prospects who both struggled in Pittsburgh. Morris was a starter who did well as a reliever for the Pirates before they traded him away mid-2014 for a draft pick that turned out to be Connor Joe.
2007: Pirates obtain pitcher Matt Morris from the San Francisco Giants in exchange for outfielder Rajai Davis and minor league pitcher Stephen MacFarland. This might be the worst trade in recent Pirates history. Morris was both very expensive and struggling. The Giants said later that they were trying to move him while eating as little salary as the could, but every team wanted them to pay a majority of his remaining pay. The Pirates were not just the only team that was willing to take on his whole salary, they also gave up two prospects in an inexplicable deal. Davis turned out to be a decent player to make matters worse, while Morris was awful in Pittsburgh and released early in 2008.
2006: Pirates sent Sean Casey to the Detroit Tigers for minor league pitcher Brian Rogers. In a separate deal, they trade outfielder/first baseman Craig Wilson to the New York Yankees in exchange for pitcher Shawn Chacon. These deals were both basically washes, as Casey was a rental and Rogers has limited time with Pittsburgh, while neither Wilson nor Chacon did anything of note with their new teams.
2006: Pittsburgh sends pitchers Oliver Perez and Roberto Hernandez to the New York Mets for outfielder Xavier Nady. The Pirates also traded pitcher Kip Wells to the Texas Rangers for minor league pitcher Jesse Chavez. The Nady deal worked out about even, as Perez did well and poorly at times in New York, equaling out to 1.0 WAR in five years. Getting rid of Wells was an impressive trade since he was making seven figures and struggling badly. Unfortunately for the Pirates, Chavez was a good pitcher after leaving Pittsburgh.
2005: Pirates ship outfielder Matt Lawton to the Chicago Cubs. In return they get outfielder Jody Gerut and cash. This trade did nothing for either team, as Lawton hit poorly after the deal and Gerut dealt with injuries.
2003: Pitchers Anastacio Martinez, Brandon Lyons and Jeff Suppan all get sent to the Boston Red Sox for infielder Freddy Sanchez and reliever Mike Gonzalez. Part of this deal was making up for a previous deal sidetracked due to injury. In reality, this deal was Suppan for Freddy Sanchez and it worked out great for the Pirates, as he became an All-Star and Boston got very little in return. Gonzalez did well for the Pirates too and brought back Andy LaRoche in a later deal, but he was part of the original trade with Boston, so he was just being returned.
2002: Pirates give up outfielder Chad Hermansen to get outfielder Darren Lewis from the Chicago Cubs. Lewis retired instead of reporting to the Pirates and Hermansen never came close to reaching high expectations.
2001: Pirates send closer Mike Williams to the Houston Astros for pitcher Tony McKnight. This was a two-month rental (Williams) for a guy who barely pitched in the majors and Williams re-signed with the Pirates, so all they lost was two months of a lost season.
2001: Pitcher Terry Mulholland is sent to the Los Angeles Dodgers in exchange for reliever Mike Fetters and minor league pitcher Adrian Burnside. An exchange of veteran pitchers and the Pirates got a prospect in the deal. It could have worked out well for the Pirates when they traded Fetters for Duaner Sanchez, who had three strong seasons as a reliever, but they all happened after he left Pittsburgh.
1993: Reliever Stan Belinda is sent to the Kansas City Royals for pitchers Jon Lieber and Dan Miceli. Belinda was a closer at the time for the Pirates and he was on the mound for the worst moment in somewhat recent team history. Pirates were giving up two full years of service time here for prospects. Both put in decent time with the Pirates, though Lieber had a big season outside of Pittsburgh, and Micelli did better elsewhere too, though his long career was worth 2.2 WAR.
1987: Pirates sent pitcher Don Robinson to the San Francisco Giants for catcher Mackey Sasser and cash. Sasser didn’t last long in Pittsburgh, getting traded to the New York Mets the next year for Randy Milligan. Robinson stayed with the Giants for a time after the trade and did well two years, not as well in two others. He put up 4.2 WAR in 5+ seasons after the trade.
On this date in 1992, Tim Wakefield made his Major League debut against the St Louis Cardinals and threw 146 pitches in a 3-2 victory. Wakefield went the distance and both runs were unearned. He allowed six hits and walked five batters, while picking up ten strikeouts. He also threw three wild pitches, with catcher Don Slaught having some trouble with the knuckleball. Barry Bonds provided the offense with his 20th homer of the season. Here’s the boxscore and play-by-play from Baseball-Reference.