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12/13 From 1990: Bell, King, Brown, Ritchie & Mack Dealt; Volquez, Buechele Sign; Mitchell Report Released; HBP Carson

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  • 1991 – Negotiating into the wee hours of the morning, the Pirates re-signed free agent 3B Steve Buechele to a four-year/$11M deal that included a $1m signing bonus; Buechele had sought a deal for $13M, but his agent admitted that the market wasn’t ready to support that figure. The agreement was announced a few hours later after the Bucs DFA’ed OF Cecil Espy to clear a 40-man roster spot for Buechele. Steve lasted into July before he was sent to the Cubs for Danny Jackson. GM Larry Doughty said that was near the end of the signings for next year; finalizing C Mike Lavalliere’s contract and bringing back RHP Bob Walk were the only items left on the Pittsburgh agenda. They were both re-signed and remained with the Buccos into 1993. 
  • 1993 – RHP Carson Fulmer was born in Lakeland, Florida. The Chicago White Sox made the Vanderbilt ace the #8 overall pick in the 2015 draft, but he didn’t meet their expectations. In parts of five years as a starter and reliever, he tossed for CWS and the Tigers, posting a line of 6-9/6.57. The Pirates claimed him off waivers in late August of 2020 from Detroit, presumably to provide starting depth as they were shopping pitchers at the deadline. But none were moved and Carson became a man without a spot; he was waived in early September and claimed by the Orioles without appearing in a game for Pittsburgh. He was reclaimed by the Bucs two weeks later, released again, and spent 2021 with the Reds. The Dodgers took him in the ensuing minor league Rule 5 draft. 
The Joker was part of J–Day – 1997 Topps Circa Rave
  • 1996 – SS Jay Bell and 3B Jeff King were traded to the Royals for 3B Joe Randa (called “The Joker” after the grinning Batman villain; Joe had a resemblance and a permanent smile on his face), LHP Jeff Wallace, LHP Jeff Granger and RHP Jeff Martin in a salary dump, or maybe in an effort by the clubs to set a record for Jeffs (or just “J” first names in general) packaged in one deal. The trade cleared about $5M in salary, and also sent away the last starters from the playoff teams of the early 1990’s. In all, the Bucs traded away eight players worth $16.5M who were on the roster in August as Kevin McClatchy planned to operate the 1997 club with a payroll of $15M. On the same day, MLB projected that the Pirates would get $4.9M in revenue sharing for 1996 and $5.5M in ‘97. 
  • 1999 – The Pirates sent OF Brant Brown to Florida for OF Bruce Avens. Brant hit .232 in his year as a Bucco and it would get worse in 2000, his final MLB season. Aven hit .250 for the Pirates and was flipped to the Dodgers at the deadline, enjoying a couple of solid seasons in LA. 
  • 2001 – The Pirates sent RHP Todd Ritchie and C Lee Evans to the White Sox for pitchers Kip Wells, Sean Lowe, and Josh Fogg. Ritchie struggled for Chicago and then was injured the following year, effectively ending his career. Fogg and Wells were mainstays in the Pirate rotation for three years but never blossomed beyond journeyman status. Lowe worked for three teams in 2002-03 before ending his MLB journey. 
  • 2005 – The Bucs acquired LHP Damaso Marte from the Chicago White Sox in exchange for INF/OF Rob Mackowiak. It was the lefty’s second go-around with Pittsburgh, and after an injury to Matt Capps in 2006, Marte became the closer. He was traded to the New York Yankees with Xavier Nady at the deadline for José Tábata, Ross Ohlendorf, Jeff Karstens, and Dan McCutchen. Mack was strong for the White Sox from 2006-07 (.285 BA), but after being traded back into the NL at the 2007 deadline he faded badly, and his career ended after the 2008 campaign. 
Damaso Marte – 2007 photo Greg Flume/Getty
  • 2007 - The Mitchell Report was released, a 20-month investigation led by former US Senator George Mitchell into performance-enhancing drugs’ MLB inroads. The report covered the use of PEDs by players with recommendations on how to handle the epidemic. Mitchell named names – 89 MLB players were alleged to have used PEDS, including 11 ex-Pirates (Kevin Young and Denny Neagle were the Bucs’ big names; every team had at least one player implicated). The findings stiffened the MLB’s spine, and they, along with the MLB Player’s Association, implemented a testing program with stiff penalties for violations. 
  • 2013 – RHP Edinson Volquez was officially signed as a free agent after passing his physical to a one-year/$5M contract. He was quite the bargain, going 13-7/3.04 during the season. He signed a two-year/$20M guaranteed deal with the KC Royals after refurbishing his value, then skipped to Miami on a one-year/$9M deal. He underwent TJ surgery in 2017 and was on the comeback trail with Texas, getting 18 outings from 2019-20, but is now a free agent.



Source: https://oldbucs.blogspot.com/2021/12/1213-from-1990-bell-king-brown-ritchie.html



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