The Pirates haven’t often been a team to go get rental players in their history and that is not likely to change. That doesn’t mean the Bucs haven’t had some players who spent a short period of time in black and gold who had impact.
Let’s look at some of my picks and see who you got too! For this exercise the criteria is simple, I don’t care how the player got here, or why they were short term players, the only rule will be less than 2 seasons and they have to have been good in Pittsburgh. I don’t want to for instance say Jose Bautista, yes, the Bucs missed on him, yes, he turned out great, but we in Pittsburgh saw none of it.
J. A. Happ – Happ was acquired from Seattle in 2015 at the trade deadline. He was struggling in Seattle and the move was widely panned as another unsuccessful reclamation project. All he did was come to Pittsburgh in the middle of the most competitive pennant race the NL Central had seen in quite some time and Start 11 games. A 7-2 record with a 1.85 ERA. His WHIP was 1.026. He was arguably the very best deadline acquisition any team made that season. He also turned into the ultimate sign of Bob Nutting’s unwillingness to spend as he walked away to Toronto the following season and put up 20 wins.
Reggie Sanders – Reggie played his first 8 seasons for the Reds then embarked on a tour of National league teams on one-year deals. In 2003 he landed in Pittsburgh and hit 31 homeruns and had a .285 BA in the heart of the order. He was a consummate pro and led the young Bucs offense. He would continue his tour the next season heading off to St. Louis and ultimately finish his career in the Junior circuit with KC.
Edinson Volquez – When Edinson was signed to a one-year deal in the offseason before 2014 many were disgusted. He was no star to say the least and drew comparisons to the signing of Jonathan Sanchez the year prior. Good thing Volquez didn’t listen, he became a steadying force in the rotation and went 13-7 with a 3.04 ERA. He also was Clint Hurdle’s choice to start the Wild Card game rather than Gerrit Cole, which as we all know turned out to be a very bad choice. That should not shade the fact that without his contributions throughout the season, the Bucs wouldn’t have been there to begin with.
Matt Joyce – Matt was brought to Pittsburgh to bolster the outfield depth for the Pirates in the 2016 season and he did just that. In limited playing time Matt put up 13 homeruns and became quite possibly the biggest bench threat in baseball. When a free agent leaves your camp and signs with Oakland, good chance you’ve screwed up.
Jeff Suppan – In 2003 the Pirates signed Jeff Suppan to provide leadership and talent to their Starting rotation. In half a season he went 10-7 with a 3.57 ERA. There have been points in Pirates history when the club tried to participate in Free Agency, 2003 is arguably the biggest example as Suppan and Sanders were both brought in. He was traded to Boston who had originally drafted him for Mike Gonzalez and Freddie Sanchez.
I’m sure there are others, in fact, I know there are, but I’ want to leave room for your thoughts and candidates. Let’s talk!