April Fool’s Day Trade Tree – Ed Ott

If I were a major league ballplayer and someone told me I was being traded on April 1st, I’d think someone was trying to pull one over on me. However, trades do happen, even on days known for their practical jokes. Ed Ott was your average useful catcher: not great with the bat but solid behind the plate with a good arm. I remember Ott being one of my favorites as a young child, mostly because his name was easy to say and remember. Coming off of a decent 1980 season, Ott was dealt to the Angels with Mickey Mahler for Jason Thompson. The Pirates had a promising young catcher named Tony Pena ready to step in and needed a replacement for aging Hall of Famer Willie Stargell. Thompson was then immediately dealt to the Yankees for first baseman Jim Spencer and minor leaguers Greg Cochran and Fred Toliver, but the commissioner blocked the deal. This turned out to be a big boon for the Bucs. Spencer was instead dealt to Oakland midseason and was done the next year. Cochran never made the majors and Toliver bounced around as a middle reliever before ending his career pitching in 12 games for the 1993 Pirates. Thompson started at first for four years, hitting 31 HR and making the All-Star team in 1982.

Thanks again to John Dreker of Pirates Prospects for bringing this deal to my attention. Be sure to read This Day in Pirates History for more on this deal and the Tony Pena/Andy Van Slyke trade which happened six years later to the day.

Tuesday Trade Tree – Damaso Marte: Act I

My first trade tree was about the Jason Bay trade. Since it was the first one I did I hadn’t worked out all of the ground rules I now use, such as including every instance a player appeared with the franchise, even if it wasn’t directly related to the original trade I was working on. Damaso Marte was an below average left handed reliever for the Pirates in 2006 and a pretty good one in 2007 and 2008 before he was sent to the Yankees with Xavier Nady for Jose Tabata, Jeff Karstens, Daniel McCutchen and Ross Ohlendorf. Marte’s rookie year with the team was in 2001 when he was acquired from the Yankees for Enrique Wilson. Before the next season began he was flipped to the White Sox for a younger, right handed reliever, Matt Guerrier. Pirates Prospects’ John Dreker has all the details on that trade in today’s This Date in Pirates History, but here’s the visual guide.

I had high hopes for the Wil Cordero trade, as I’m sure others did too. It seemed like Wilson was a highly thought of shortstop prospect at the time, so getting him and a young outfielder for a mediocre veteran looked great. Alas, it was not meant to be.

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