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How the 1979 Pirates were built

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Pittsburgh Pirates v San Diego Padres Photo by: Rick Stewart/Getty Images

The 1979 team was much less a product of the Pirates’ farm system than the 1971 team. Instead, it was built heavily through trades. Of course, the team traded half its farm system for Phil Garner in 1977. The Pirates even acquired the left side of their infield during the season. Trades like that, and big trades in general, like the Madlock, Garner and Blyleven/Milner deals, aren’t easy to do now.

Free agents also make an appearance. Some of the free agent signings (not including the amateur ones) may have been minor league contracts, specifically Matt Alexander and Joe Coleman, but I can’t tell for sure. The latter had been released by the Giants in April.

You’ll notice Rick Rhoden in the trades. According to his SABR bio, the Pirates knew he had arm problems when they acquired him, but the problems turned out to be worse than the team realized. After one start, he had shoulder surgery. He returned during the 1980 season and eventually won 79 games for the Pirates.

DRAFT

C Ed Ott (1970, 23rd round) — 86 OPS+

OF Dave Parker (1970, 14th round) — 140 OPS+, 25 HR, 109 R, 94 RBI

C Steve Nicosia (1973, 1st round) — 113 OPS+

IF Dale Berra (1975, 1st round) — 60 OPS+

PH Doe Boyland (1976, 2nd round) — 3 PA

PR Gary Hargis (1974, 2nd round) — 1 G, 0 PA

LHP John Candelaria (1972, 2nd round) — 14-9, 121 ERA+

RHP Bruce Kison (1968, 14th round) — 13-7, 122 ERA+

RHP Don Robinson (1975, 3rd round) — 8-8, 101 ERA+

RHP Ed Whitson (1974, 5th round) — 2-3-1, 90 ERA+

AMATEUR FREE AGENT (before draft was instituted)

1B Willie Stargell (signed Aug. 7, 1958) — 139 OPS+, 28 HR, 97 RBI

NON-DRAFTED FREE AGENT (after draft was instituted)

RHP Kent Tekulve (signed July 16, 1969) — 10-8-31, 142 ERA+, 94 G, 134.1 IP

INTERNATIONAL FREE AGENT

2B Rennie Stennett (signed Feb. 12, 1969, from Panama) — 56 OPS+

OF Omar Moreno (signed March 30, 1969, from Panama) — 91 OPS+, 77 SB, 110 R

SS Frank Taveras (signed Jan. 8, 1968, from Dominican) — 48 OPS+, 11 G

PR Alberto Lois (signed March 12, 1974, from Dominican) — 11 G, 0 PA, 6 R

TRADE

SS Tim Foli (April 19, 1979, from NYM with minor leaguer for SS Frank Taveras) — 83 OPS+, .291

3B Bill Madlock (June 28, 1979, from SF with IF Lenny Randle and LHP Dave Roberts for RHP Fred Breining, LHP Al Holland and RHP Ed Whitson) — 130 OPS+, .328

1B/OF Bill Robinson (April 5, 1975, from Phi for RHP Wayne Simpson) — 112 OPS+, 24 HR, 75 RBI

2B/3B Phil Garner (March 15, 1977, from Oak with RHP Chris Batton and IF Tommy Helms for OF Tony Armas, RHP Doug Bair, RHP Dave Giusti, RHP Rick Langford, RHP Doc Medich and OF Mitchell Page) — 113 OPS+, 11 HR, 76 R

1B/OF John Milner (Dec. 8, 1977, from NYM with RHP Bert Blyleven also coming from Tex as part of four-team, 11-player trade; Pirates sent IF Nelson Norman and 1B/OF Al Oliver to Tex) — 126 OPS+, 16 HR, 60 RBI

C/1B Manny Sanguillen (April 4, 1978, from Oak for OF Miguel Dilone, RHP Elias Sosa and IF Mike Edwards) — 59 OPS+, 80 PA

OF Mike Easler (March 15, 1979, from Bos for two minor leaguers) — 118 OPS+, 62 PA

RHP Bert Blyleven (Dec. 8, 1977, from Tex with 1B/OF John Milner also coming from NYM as part of four-team, 11-player trade; Pirates sent IF Nelson Norman and 1B/OF Al Oliver to Tex) — 12-5, 108 ERA+

LHP Jim Rooker (Oct. 25, 1972, from KC for RHP Gene Garber) — 4-7, 85 ERA+

RHP Enrique Romo (Dec. 5, 1978, from Sea with LHP Rick Jones and SS Tom McMillan for RHP Odell Jones, SS Mario Mendoza and RHP Rafael Vasquez) — 10-5-5, 130 ERA+, 84 G, 129.1 IP

LHP Grant Jackson (Dec. 7, 1976, from Sea for SS Craig Reynolds and IF Jimmy Sexton) — 8-5-14, 132 ERA+, 72 G

LHP Dave Roberts (June 28, 1979, from SF with 3B Bill Madlock and IF Lenny Randle for RHP Fred Breining, LHP Al Holland and RHP Ed Whitson) — 5-2-1, 121 ERA+

RHP Rick Rhoden (April 7, 1979, from LA for LHP Jerry Reuss) — 0-1, 58 ERA+, 1 G

PURCHASED

RHP Dock Ellis (Sept. 21, 1979, from NYM) — 0-0, 160 ERA+, 3 G

FREE AGENT

OF Lee Lacy (signed Jan. 19, 1979) — 97 OPS+

PR Matt Alexander (signed Sept. 1, 1978) — 44 G, 14 PA, 13-14 SB

RHP Jim Bibby (signed March 15, 1978) — 12-4, 139 ERA+

RHP Joe Coleman (signed May 8, 1979) — 0-0, 65 ERA+