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12/7 From 1975: Bedard, Solly, Bayliss, Backman, Jackson Deals; Sheltie Staff; AVS GG; Robby Stays, Gott, Cobra, Hebs Go; HBD Steve

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  • 1976 – Pittsburgh traded shortstops Craig Reynolds and Jimmy Sexton to Seattle for LHP Grant Jackson. It was a win-win; the surrendered Pirates prospects had solid MLB careers while Buck was a key part of the bullpen for five years and pitched shutout ball during the 1979 postseason for the World Champion Bucs. Fun fact: this was the first trade ever made by the Mariners. 
Grant Jackson – 1977 Topps
  • 1976 – Richie Hebner signed a deal with the Phillies after nine campaigns with Pittsburgh. Per SABR, Buc GM Pete Peterson offered the FA $80,000, 90,000, and $100,000 across three seasons. Hebner received an offer from GM Paul Owens of the Phillies for $600K (Baseball Reference shows it at $550K) over three years on 12/6 and signed the contract a day later, becoming official on the 15th. But that superior bid didn’t stop the Pittsburgh FO from being steamed; The Gravedigger had promised they would get the last crack at an offer. Ooops. But they eventually kissed and made up; Hebner returned to the fold in 1982. 
  • 1979 – The Pirates and Astros were itching to pull the trigger on a Bill Robinson for Joaquin Andujar swap as the Buc were looking for one more arm to fill their rotation (other talks with the Tigers regarding Milt Wilcox eventually fell through; Robinson was again the main lure.) But at the last minute, Houston decided that they wanted another player to sweeten the pot, plus Robby was a 5-and-10 year man who could veto a trade. One or the other, or more likely both, came into play and soured the talks. Andujar had a rough year in 1980, but at St. Louis turned into a solid workhorse and from 1981-86 won 82 games with a 3.50 ERA while the 36-year-old Robby had a solid 1980, but never posted more than 294 at bats over his final four campaigns (1980-83). 
  • 1983 – After 11 years as a Pirate, OF Dave Parker ended his Steel City era by signing a two year/$1.6M contract with the Reds. Returning to his hometown Cincinnati for the next four campaigns, in 1985 he enjoyed his best season since he won the 1978 MVP, posting a line of .312/34 home runs/125 RBI and finishing second in MVP voting to Willie McGee. But the off season wasn’t all peaches and cream; he was a key witness during the coke trial held in Pittsburgh. The Cobra was originally suspended for a season by the league as a regular drug user, but eventually had the sentence reduced to community service and a 10% salary donation to drug treatment organizations. 
Dave Parker – 1983 Fleer
  • 1988 – CF Andy Van Slyke won his first Golden Glove from The Sporting News. He would go on to win four more in the next four years. It was a good five-year run for AVS; he also won two Silver Sluggers and was named to two of his three All-Star games during that span. 
  • 1988 – The Twins sent pitching prospects Jeff Bumgarner, Steve Gasser and Toby Nivens to the Buccos for IF Wally Backman. It proved a quite minor deal – Wally had three seasons and 300 at-bats left to his career while none of the Minnesota gang progressed past AA ball.
  • 1989 – RHP Jim Gott opted to fly the Bucco coop and sign with the LA Dodgers. Coming off elbow surgery, both clubs offered the reliever a base salary of $300K with incentives to hike the deal to $1M, but the Pirates bonus was based on performance (innings, saves, etc) while LA’s bonuses were tied to roster time. Recovering from a sore wing, “The Mayor” (Gott had been deeply involved with the community during his three-year stay) felt the Dodger incentives, coupled with Bill Landrum returning as the Buc closer, made LA’s deal more attractive. Neither Jim nor the Dodgers had any issues with Gott’s arm holding up after the signing; he pitched for five years in Los Angeles, making 272 outings before closing out his career in Pittsburgh in 1995. 
  • 1990 – C Steve Baron was born in Miami. He was the first round pick (#33) of the Seattle Mariners in 2009 out of high school, with a rep as a great glove guy. Baron got a cup of coffee with Seattle in 2015, but was later DFA’ed and taken by the Cards. The Pirates signed him as a free agent for 2019, and he served as the third catcher in September after spending the year at AAA Indy. Steve spent 2020 with the Indians and hasn’t been in pro ball since.
Steve Baron – 2019 photo Dave Arrigo/Pirates
  • 2005 – The Pirates traded LHP Mark Redman to the Kansas City Royals for RHP Jonah Bayliss and a minor league player, RHP Chad Blackwell. Redman had gone 5-5/4.90 with the Bucs and was due $4.5M. He won 11 games for KC and an All-Star berth (though he finished the year with a 5.71 ERA) and won four more games in 2007-08 to end his career. Reliever Bayliss worked 50 games for the Bucs in 2006-07, going 5-4/6.75, and never landed another MLB job. 
  • 2006 – Hello, ka-ching, goodbye. The Pirates took 25-year-old righty Sean White from the Atlanta Braves in the Rule 5 draft, then turned around and sold him to the Seattle Mariners the same day. He did stick in the Great Northwest through 2010, and had one excellent season in 2009. 
  • 2007 – The Pirates dealt reliever Salomon Torres to the Milwaukee Brewers for pitchers Marino Salas and Kevin Roberts. In 2006, Torres was the Pirate set-up man, appearing in a record 94 games, and was anointed closer after the year. But after blowing four saves, he was replaced by Matt Capps and dealt in the off season. Torres tossed a solid season as Milwaukee’s closer, saving 28 games, while Salas and Roberts floundered. They also signed 35-year-old C Raul Chavez to a minor league deal. Raul caught 31 games and hit .259, throwing out a dandy 12-of-25 base stealers. He closed out his career in Toronto the following season. 
  • 2011 – The Pirates signed free agent LHP Érik Bédard to a one-year/$4.5M contract. After going 7-14/5.01, he was released in August after beginning the year as the Opening Day pitcher. 14 of his 24 starts lasted five or fewer innings. His peripherals weren’t bad, but the numbers didn’t translate into very many Bucco victories. After a quick start – he had a 3.12 ERA at the end of May – the team lost 10 of his next 14 starts. They also inked former CF’er Nate McLouth to a one-year/$1.75M deal. He lasted for 34 games, batted .175, was released on May 31st and then claimed by Baltimore. Nate the Great played one more season for the Washington Nats and retired.
Sheltie – 2020 photo/Pirates Fest
  • 2019 – Manager Derek Shelton started to fill out his coaching staff by hiring Astro’s first-base coach Don Kelly as his bench coach. Kelly had deep local roots as a Butler resident, Mt. Lebanon HS & Point Park grad and former Pirate player. The team also announced that hitting coach Rick Eckstein and third-base coach Joey Cora would return while assistant pitching coach Justin Meccage was also retained in a role to be determined (he became the bullpen coach).


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