Happy Monday, baseball fans. Here are a handful of Pirates-related tidbits that have occurred within the last few days:
Pirates comment on Diaz's mom's kidnapping
Ana Soto, Elias Diaz's 72-year old mother who was kidnapped from her home in Venezuela last Thursday, has been rescued. Pirates president Frank Coonelly issued a statement this morning to provide an update:
"The Pittsburgh Pirates are relieved and overjoyed to learn that Elias Diaz’ mother, Ana Soto, has been rescued and safely reunited with her family. We are incredibly grateful for the swift and effective work of the local law enforcement officials in Venezuela who brought this terrifying act to the safe conclusion for which we had all prayed. As an organization, we will continue to support Elias and his family as they move forward together.”
Six people, including the getaway van driver and five members of the Zulia police force, were arrested in association with the kidnapping. Soto, who suffers from hypertension and diabetes, was sent to the hospital for tests but appears to be okay. No ransom was paid.
Jaso still sailing away
At the end of last season, John Jaso said that his plan was probably to retire from baseball and live on his sailboat, effectively completing his transformation into a real-life Captain Ron. While the MLB does not appear to have officially announced his retirement, former Tampa Rays outfielder and current MLB analyst Fernando Perez tweeted that Jaso is indeed set on sailing the world.
He is truly retiring to sail the world and if that isn’t doing very, very well I don’t know what is— Michelle Much Tanner (@ifernandoperez3) February 9, 2018
Assuming this is the end for Jaso, the former catcher-turned-first-baseman-turned-outfielder will have retired with .258/.356/.407 line over eight seasons split between the Rays, Mariners, Athletics, and Pirates.
Esteban Loaiza: Drug kingpin?
Former Pirates pitcher Esteban Loaiza was arrested last Friday in San Diego for possession of more than 20 kilos (about 44 pounds) of heroin and/or cocaine. Loaiza, 46, debuted with the Pirates as a 23-year old in 1995 and started 87 games for the Bucs over three and a half seasons. His best year came in 2003 with the White Sox when he struck out 207 batters and finished second in the American League Cy Young voting. Loaiza is the second-winningest Mexican-born major leaguer behind Fernando Valenzuela.
Loaiza is being held on $200,000 bail and is scheduled to appear in court on Wednesday to face felony drug charges.
Pirates at odds with city
The Pirates are arguing that the city of Pittsburgh owes them money for renovations to the park. Last year, the Pittsburgh-Allegheny County Sports & Exhibition Authority approved $2.6 million in reimbursements for investments that the Pirates put into PNC Park, but the Pirates claim that the SEA owes them an additional $1.9 million for these expenses.
These expenses included seat replacements and improved field lighting, but the most contentious point appears to be the $1.1 million LED-lit out of town scoreboard that the Pirates installed last season. The SEA reportedly paid for less than a third of the new scoreboard, which allowed for more innovative advertising opportunities than the old wooden scoreboard that it replaced.