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12/11 From 1980: Lyles, Lawton, Harper, Doc Deals; Nova Goes; Chuck, Kelly, Bo Signed; Hutch For Sid; HBD Joe

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  • 1975 - The Yankees acquired RHP Dock Ellis, LHP Ken Brett and 2B Willie Randolph from the Pirates for RHP Doc Medich. Randolph suited up for 17 more seasons, was named to six All-Star teams and played in four World Series, but was blocked in Pittsburgh by Rennie Stennett, who, as fate would have it, broke his leg in 1977 and left Pittsburgh after 1979. Dock pitched for five teams over the next four years, ending his career with a final stop in Pittsburgh in 1979 after two solid years (29-20/3.41) in 1976-77. Brett remained workmanlike over the next six seasons, tossing for a half-dozen clubs. Doc went 8-11/3.51 in his only Pirates campaign, then was traded to Oakland (and not gladly; he was attending Pitt medical school at the time) as part of the Phil Garner deal, spending four of his next six campaigns with Texas. 
Joe Blanton – 2015 Topps Update
  • 1980 – RHP Joe Blanton was born in Bowling Green, Kentucky. The Pirates bought the veteran reliever from Kansas City at the 2015 deadline and he went 5-0/1.57 in his time with the Bucs, turning a strong 21-game stretch run into a $4M free agent contract with the Dodgers. His last campaign was in 2017 with the Nats. 
  • 1981 - SS Tim Foli was traded to the California Angels for Brian Harper. Foli was on the downside of his career while Harper spent three years in Pittsburgh as a utilityman, hitting .243. Crazy Horse (he was a fiery 100%’er) Foli returned in 1985 in a trade with the Yankees, but hit just .189 and was released in June. 
  • 1990 - Sid Bream, who overcame three knee operations to help the Pirates capture the NL East championship, was named the winner of the 26th annual Hutch Award. The award goes to a player who overcomes adversity to go on to further accomplishments, named for Fred Hutchinson. Bream hit .270 with 67 RBI after sitting out most of the 1989 campaign. It was his last bow as a Buc, as Bream had signed with the Atlanta Braves as an off-season FA the week before. 
  • 2002 - Pittsburgh brought back RHP Brian Boehringer, 33, inking the reliever to a two-year with an option and $3.8M guaranteed. Boehringer was coming off a 4-4-1/3.39 campaign and appearing in 70 games, but he didn’t have to worry about that option being exercised. BB went 6-5/5.42 in 2003-04 and was bought out, ending his MLB career. 
Brian Boehringer – 2003 Upper Deck 40 Man
  • 2004 - The Bucs swapped out LHP Arthur Rhodes less than a month after they had acquired him from the A’s to Cleveland for OF Matt Lawton. Cleveland also sent the Pirates an undisclosed amount to help offset Lawton’s $7.2M salary. Lawton hit .284 with 10 HR and 44 RBIs before being flipped for Jody Gerut at the 2005 trading deadline. 
  • 2006 - Pittsburgh signed hometown utility guy Don Kelly, born in Butler and a Mt. Lebanon HS/Point Park College alum, to a minor league deal. But it wasn’t a home-sweet-home reunion; he got into just 25 games with the Bucs during his rookie 2007 campaign and hit .148 during his only local stint. Kelly seasoned in the minors for a year and then went on to play eight more MLB campaigns with Detroit and Miami in a bench role, coached and scouted for the Astros and is now Derek Shelton’s bench coach. 
  • 2013 – RHP Charlie Morton signed a contract extension for three years plus an option. He received $4M for 2014 (his last arb year), $8M in 2015 & 2016 plus a club option for 2017 of $9.5M and a $1M buyout, with $500K in possible bonuses. Morton went 15-21/4.21 the next two seasons, was traded to Philly, got hurt and inked a deal with the Astros. He won a WS game there and signed with Tampa Bay, where he became an All-Star in 2019. Charlie went 9-9 in 2020 and then signed with Atlanta for the ‘21 campaign. 
  • 2018 – The Pirates shipped RHP Ivan Nova to the White Sox for prospect RHP Yordi Rosario, 19, and $500K international slot money. Nova was streaky since arriving from the Yankees at the 2016 deadline, stingy with walks and generous with homers, and put together a 25-25/3.99 line with the Bucs in his 2-1/2 seasons. Rosario, from the Dominican, was a lotto ticket projected as an eventual back-end starter as the Bucs restocked their lower level farm pitching. Nova pitched in the Dominican League in 2021 while Rosario is now in the Angels system. 
Ivan Nova – 2018 AT&T SportsNet image
  • 2018 – In another winter meeting deal, the club signed free agent RHP Jordan Lyles (it became official on the 17th after his physical), 28, a guy with not much of a track record despite eight years in the league (31-52-2/5.28) with four other clubs, to a one-year/$2.05M deal. The converted starter did have a solid 2018 from the pen (1-0/3.32 in 28 outings), so that performance, no discernible split between L/R hitters, and an increased use of curves and sinkers won him a contract. The Pirates opted to start him, and after a hot beginning to 2019, he faded and was sent to Milwaukee; in 2020, he jumped ship to the Rangers.


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