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11/17: Big Contracts, Lucas Trade, HBD Tom & Elias, Expansion, Benjamin Inked

Thursday, November 17, 2016 5:16
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  • 1933 – The Pirates traded OF Adam Comorosky and 2B Tony Piet to the Reds for P Red Lucas and OF Wally Roettger. Lucas was the key player. He lasted five seasons in Pittsburgh, going 47-32/3.77 and making 96 starts. After the trade, Lucas never lost a game against his old Cincinnati mates, going 14-0 against them during the remainder of his career. Red went 15-4 in 1936 with a 3.18 ERA in his top Bucco campaign and was also handy off the bench with a stick (he started his minor league career in the OF), posting a career .281 BA. Red’s nickname, “The Nashville Narcissus,” was coined by Colonel Bob Newhall, a reporter for the old Cincinnati Tribune, who thought the young pitcher who was raised in Nashville was a blooming baseball beauty per SABR.
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Tom Dettore 1973 promotional photo
  • 1947 – RHP Tom Dettore was born in Canonsburg. Tom tossed one year for the Bucs in 1973, putting up an 0-1, 5.96 line and pitched the next three seasons for the Cubs. After his playing days, Dettore was a pitching coach in the Pirates minor league system (1988-95) before becoming the Pirates minor league pitching coordinator through 1998.
  • 1990 – C Elias Diaz was born in Maracaibo, Venezuela. He debuted with Pittsburgh in 2015 and was up briefly in 2016, but an elbow injury and later a case of cellulitis derailed the season. He’s considered an excellent defensive catcher though just a contact hitter, and is the Pirates top prospect at the position.
  • 1992 – The Pirates lost OF Alex Cole to the Colorado Rockies, along with P Danny Jackson and IF Ramon Martinez to the Florida Marlins, in the expansion draft. The Fish flipped Jackson to the Phils, where he won 26 games in 1993-94 and earned an All-Star nod.
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Mike Benjamin 2000 MLB Showdown
  • 1998 – The Bucs signed free agent IF Mike Benjamin to a two-year contract worth $924K. He later signed a two-year extension worth $1.4M and played for Pittsburgh through the 2002 campaign, missing ‘01 due to injury, and hit .239 while manning all four infield positions.
  • 2000 – C Jason Kendall signed the richest contract in team history. The $60M, six-year contract extension, which included a $4M signing bonus, had a base salary of $6M in 2002 and peaked at $13M in 2007. To this point from his rookie year of 1996, Kendall had hit .300 or better every season except 1997, when he hit .294. He became the second highest paid active catcher in baseball, behind only Mike Piazza. He was traded to the Oakland A’s in 2004 before his salary jumped to seven figures.
  • 2005 – Jason Bay agreed to an $18.25M, four-year contract that ran through his arbitration-eligible seasons after making $355K in 2005. He hit .296 with 58 HR and 183 RBI in 2004-05 and began his career by winning the NL Rookie of the Year award. The only sticking point was a fifth year that would have been during Bay’s first free agent season; his side wanted a guaranteed renewal to give it up while the Bucs preferred to make it an option year. At loggerheads on that issue, the deal was smooth sailing after a four-year term was struck. Jay Bay was traded to Boston in 2008, before the contract ran out, and had a couple of solid years with the Red Sox before moving on to the NY Mets, where injuries effectively derailed his career.
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Jason Bay 2005 Donruss Studio

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