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12/2 From 1980: Stewie Deal; Strange Signs; Lockout; '20 & '16 Arbs; Pedro, Bo Go; Spanky GG; Barger VP; HBD Wyatt

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  • 1982 - C/coach Wyatt Toregas was born in Fairfax, Virginia. He had a 22-game MLB career with three of those games played with Pittsburgh in 2011 where he went 0-for-4. In November, at the age of 28, Toregas was converted into a player/coach and served in the first base box for the 2012 AAA Indy Indians. In January, 2015, Wyatt was named as the first manager of the Bucs’ short-season affiliate, the West Virginia Black Bears, moving up the ladder to skipper for the West Virginia Power and Bradenton Marauders. He continued as a member of the Braves organization, resigning as Mississippi Braves manager in June of 2021 and out of baseball since. 
Carl Barger – undated photo via Sports E-Cyclopedia
  • 1987 – Attorney Carl Barger was named team president, replacing Malcolm “Mac” Prine, who had lost an internal battle w/GM Syd Thrift. Barger was one of the architects of the Pittsburgh Associates and well-positioned to take over the day-to-day operations of the club, although he still kept his day job with Eckert, Seamans, Cherin & Mellott. His immediate goal was to improve the team’s image and marketing, with his aim being for attendance to hit the 2M mark. He left the Pirates in 1991 to become president of the new Florida Marlins’ franchise after he hit his patronage goal in 1990, spurred by the success of the Bucs’ run into the postseason. Westinghouse’s Douglas Danforth was chosen as Chairman of the Board and CEO to replace Barger. 
  • 1987 – C Mike “Spanky” LaValliere was presented with his first (and only) Golden Glove as selected by the coaches and players. Spanky led the NL in throwouts (45%) in his first season as a Bucco (he replaced Tony Pena, who was part of the deal with SL that brought Lavalliere to Pittsburgh) and finished the year with a .300 BA, doing it with both his lumber and leather. It also proved handy for his pocketbook; the honor triggered a $10K contract bonus. 
  • 1991 – After six years as a Pirate, Bobby Bonilla signed as a free agent with the New York Mets, the opening move in the Bucs’ eventual early-nineties disintegration. His five-year, $29M deal made him the game’s highest-paid player at the time. From 1986 to 1991, Bonilla had a .284 batting average with 114 home runs/500 RBI’s, led the league in extra base hits in 1990 and in doubles in 1991 and was named to the All-Star team for four years in a row. Bo is currently being paid about $1.2M by the New York Mets annually through 2035 as part of a negotiated buyout of a second deal signed in 1999. That deal turned the $5.9M due to him in 2000 into $29.8M over 25 years, earning Bobby Bo a nod as an All-Star in the world of finance, too. 
Post-Gazette – 12/3/1991
  • 1997 – Free agent IF Doug Strange signed a two-year/$1.1M deal with the Pirates, sweetened with appearance bonuses. The 34-year-old hit .173 in 1988 and didn’t make the cut for the second year of the deal, with his sole Bucco season ending his nine-year MLB career. No hard feelings, though – Strange joined the FO in 2002 and is still a Pirates suit involved with evaluation and scouting. 
  • 2013 – C Chris Stewart was traded to the Bucs by the New York Yankees for a PTBNL, who ended up being minor league pitcher Kyle Haynes. Stew played through two option seasons before signing up for another two-year stint (with a club option for a third) following 107 games and a .292 BA with the Pirates as the caddy from 2014-15. Stew got into just 34 games in 2016 and had season-ending surgery on his knee in September. He barely topped the Mendoza Line in his final two Bucco campaigns and was non-tendered after 2017, next playing for Atlanta and Arizona before retiring in 2019. The Pirates also lost two fan favorites players on this date when 1B/OF Garrett Jones and C Michael “The Fort” McKenry were allowed to walk as free agents. 
  • 2015 – Former #1 pick (second overall) in 2008, 1B Pedro Alvarez, was non-tendered and became a free agent. Pedro hit 131 homers in 742 games for Pittsburgh, but his inability to solve lefties (.203 BA), strikeouts (809) and fielding woes made his projected $8M arbitration award too pricey for the Bucs, which had tried unsuccessfully to move him to an American League club for two years running. He went on to play three years with Baltimore, with 2018 being his last campaign. Jaff Decker, a depth outfielder, was also non-tendered. Jaff signed on as organizational depth for Tampa Bay, getting into 19 games, and got a cup of coffee with Oakland in 2017, his last MLB posting. 
Petey – 2015 Topps Heritage
  • 2016 – The Pirates kept the majority of their eight-man arb class. The FO tendered P’s Tony Watson, Juan Nicasio, Gerrit Cole, Drew Hutchison & Jared Hughes and signed Wade LeBlanc (one year + option, $800K guaranteed); they also tendered SS Jordy Mercer. The casualties were P Jeff Locke, who was DFA’ed, and C Eric Fryer, who was non-tendered as a pre-arb player. 
  • 2019 – The Pirates brought in Steve Sanders, 31, the Director of Amateur Scouting for Toronto, as an AGM, becoming new GM Ben Cherington’s first front office hire (it was officially announced the next day). His focus was on amateur/international scouting and MLB’s draft. The two had a history of working together: Sanders was a scout for Boston in 2012 when Cherington was the GM, and was the Blue Jays Scouting Director during Cherington’s stint with Toronto. Sanders replaced Kyle Stark, who had been relieved of duty in mid-November.
  • 2020 – The Pirates had 15 guys eligible for arb, and today was the deadline for dealing with their contracts. IF Erik Gonzalez was signed to a one-year/$1.225 million contract (he made $725K last season), while RHP Michael Feliz and RHP Jameson Taillon also agreed on deals. Arb-eligible players RHP Trevor Williams and 1B/OF Jose Osuna had already been released. The remainder of the arb guys (10) were tendered and decided to go through the hearing process. They were 1B Josh Bell, LHP Steven Brault, RHP Kyle Crick, 2B Adam Frazier, RHP Chad Kuhl, 1B/3B Colin Moran, RHP Joe Musgrove, RHP Richard Rodriguez, C Jake Stallings and RHP Chris Stratton (who was the only man left on the roster by the 2022 season). In another move, RHP Clay Holmes, who was ailing with a bad arm, was non-tendered (he was a year shy of arb). 
Chris Stratton – 2021 photo/Pirates
  • 2021 – At one minute past midnight, MLB informed the union that the players were being locked out pending a new Collective Bargaining Agreement. The main sticking points: the owners were pushing a cap/floor system to control costs, while the union was opposed, seeing it as a ploy to limit the pay of elite players. On the other hand, the MLBPA wanted an easier eligibility path for young players to get paid serious dollars while the owners would rather keep that cheap labor pool intact. Other less pressing points: tanking, expanded playoffs, luxury tax, service time manipulation and universal DH were also on the table. The last baseball work stoppage was the players strike that canceled the 1994 World Series and caused the 1995 season to be shortened to 144 games. This one was settled in early March, delaying the start of the season but saving all the games.


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