Brendan Donnelly New Bullpen Storyteller



Brendan Donnelly was signed by the Pirates to a major league deal.  The one year deal with incentives seemed a bit much to pay, but hell it’s not my money.   After digging through background on this story, Donnelly scares us to death, but what a helluva story.  We put together a pro con list.


Probably loves fireworks after being born on Fourth of July.  Pittsburgh has plenty.

Experience.  He has a World Series Ring.  He has pitched 20 innings in the post season.

How sweet would it be to listen to this wild man wax nostaglic?  The guy has played all over the place, ( I read somewhere it was 15 cities in 11 years) so maybe it will sink in how hard pro ball players have to work.   In order to keep his dream alive, Donnelly has been a pipe layer, personal trainer, Magnum PI, and a pest exterminator all before he was 30.

Love the fact he pitched in the minor leagues for the Astros as recently as last season.  That had to be uncomfortable for  especially for the now 38-year old.  The guy has worked hard to get back to the majors since Tommy John surgery a few years ago.

Recent success for the right hander in 2009 when he ended up with a 1.78ERA in 30 appearances with the Florida Marlins.  He was their setup man firing 25K in 25.1IP.  He issued 9 walks and held the opposition to a  .239 average.

Another thing we like is a rivalry.  Donnelly has a lasting lingering hatred of former Bucco Jose Guillen.  The two played together with the Angels.  Guillen was then traded to the Washington Nationals, and before he left Anaheim he had some choice words for the Angels and Mike Scioscia.  The Angels and Nationals met a few months later, and Guillen tipped umpires to the fact that Donnelly kept pine tar in his glove.  Bench clear.  Ejections.  Man hugs.

The rivalry popped up again when Donnelly was with the Red Sox after a three pitch strikeout of then Mariner, Guillen.  Bench clear.  Arguing.  God, I miss Dirty Doug.

Catcher Kenji Johjima was the next Mariners batter and he received a fastball to his thigh.  Donnelly said it wasn’t intentional. After the game though, Guillen wasn’t finished talking about Donnelly, and he said, “If he wants to take care of his problem, the clubhouses are pretty close,” Guillen said. “He can just send one of the batboys to come get me outside, and then we’ll take care of this as a man.”

[Ahh, the Royals aren’t on the Pirates 2010 schedule. Random tangent here…  Jose Guillen sucks according to Bovine Comedy.  If you read this article, there is a lot of sucking going on by the Royals ‘hitter.’ Hilarious.]

Pirate fans, it appears that Jeff Karstens has some competition as the designated plunker of Ryan Braun for the Pirates this season.

He will never be eligible for entrance into the union due to being a scab player, so perhaps he will work hard to remain in top health to make money a couple more years.

A swing and miss reliever.  In Pittsburgh.


A swing and miss reliever in Pittsburgh begs to be used.  Perhaps overused which would only lead to injury based on Donnelly’s past.

Jose Guillen said it best.  “I caught him cheating once. He don’t play the game clean, the way it’s supposed to. If you’re cheating, you’re cheating. I catch you, that’s it. Take it like a man.”

The ultimate con.  Donnelly was named in the Mitchell Report.  This disgusts us.  Totally.

He claims in this Peter Gammons article that he made a phone call to Kirk Radomski and that was it.   We are anxious to hear his answers to this topic when it comes up.    Donnelly’s quote from the Gammons article.  “Upon learning that Anavar was classified as a steroid, I realized that was not an option. That was the end of it. Yes, I called him. But I did not purchase or receive anything from him. I never took Deca or Anavar. I do want to fully support the testing program of Major League Baseball, and I support wider testing.”

Donnelly hasn’t appeared in more than 30 games since 2006.

In spring training  last season Donnelly was throwing very well, an injury slowed his progress and would lead to the AAA job mentioned above.  Even when not overused he has had injuries.   As a Marlin in the second half stretch run, injuries found Donnelly again.  After just 21 appearances and a sparkling 2.04 ERA, Donnelly suffered a strained right calf injury attempting to field a sacrifice bunt.  The injury placed him on the 15 dayDL on Aug 23.  He was  2-0 with a 2.04 ERA in 21 appearances at that point.

Pro and Con

Donnelly’s split finger.  “It’s my slowest pitch, about 80 to 82 mph, like a guy throwing a changeup,” Donnelly said. “It gives hitters something else to think about instead of timing my two pitches and reacting to location. As long as the pitch is down, it’s fine. If it’s up, it’s a home run.”

What happens when the scab subject comes up?  From Zoom and TJ Cutini

Donnelly was a scab player back in 1995 during the baseball strike and was not listed on the Anaheim Angels official World Series Champion t-shirt after last season. Why? He was a scab and he’s not a member of the Players Association.   Angels players had to order bootleg T-shirts in honor of their world championship, and those shirts included Donnelly’s name.

Bottom line

It sucks he crossed the line.  People are serious about those things.

It sucks he was in the Mitchell Report.

I like the fact he is in our bullpen.

I trust he won’t be overworked.

Fan Graphs.  Donnelly