Pittsburgh Pirates Game 7 World Series Connection

Mandatory Credit: Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports /

Editorial: Although the Pittsburgh Pirates are not in the World Series, they still have a connection to the game.  There is a specific player who is playing in a big spot tonight for the tribe.

All playoffs long the Tribe have been using Rajai Davis in the outfield.  As many fans know Davis is a former Pittsburgh Pirates player.  Today it was announced that Davis would be manning center field for the Tribe as they have benched Tyler Naquin.  There has been a tone of press regarding the decision.  Over and over I keep hearing his name brought up today.  It got me thinking, man the Pittsburgh Pirates used to have this player and now he is in the World Series.  This is not uncommon as a lot of teams can say their former players are there.  However, the big deal in all this is that Davis should always be remembered as a Pittsburgh Pirates player.

Rajai Davis started his career as a 38th round draft pick by the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2001.  The pick itself was the 1134th overall.  A pick this late is also known as a shot in the dark prospect.  Davis obviously was a very raw prospect upon entering the Pittsburgh Pirates organization.  With that he was given plenty of time to develop in the minors.  Although Davis spent six years in the Pittsburgh Pirates farm system he performed very well.  On his Pittsburgh Pirates minor league career Davis batted .305 and stole 251 bases. In 2006 he got the call to the majors in August.   Then in 2007 he batted .318 with an .853 OPS in his final minor league season with the Bucs (53 games).  Upon putting up great numbers in 2007 the Pittsburgh Pirates called up Davis again.  He played in 24 games and hit .271.

Then on July 31st of 2007 the memorable moment happened.  The Pittsburgh Pirates dealt him and pitcher Stephen MacFarland to the San Francisco Giants for veteran pitcher Matt Morris.  This was the last notable trade made by then General Manager Dave Littlefield.  Morris made eleven starts for the Bucs in 2007 and threw to a 4.82 earned run average.  Then in 2008 he was even worse.  He started five games for the Bucs going 0-4 with a 9.67 earned run average.

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The worst part of the deal was that the Pittsburgh Pirates paid Morris nine million dollars.  He subsequently retired after his poor start, but was still owed his money.  Nine million dollars may not seem like a lot of money, but back in 2007 it was considered a significant amount  For comparison Carlos Silva, who was considered in his prime at the time, got 11 million dollars per year in the 2007-2008 offseason.  Morris was an aging, injury prone player getting similar money.

All in all many consider the trade one of the worst in Pittsburgh Pirates history.  Not only did they get a terrible pitcher back, but an expensive one.  Morris was abysmal in his time in Pittsburgh and only lasted 16 starts as a Pirate.  To come full circle, Rajai Davis who will be manning center field for the Cleveland Indians in-game seven has a chance to get a ring.  Something they may have never happened if it was not for David Littlefield making one last blunder of a trade in 2007.