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Pirates' Ill-Gotten Booty or Ill-Booten
2003-02-06 16:19
by Mike Carminati

Pirates' Ill-Gotten Booty or Ill-Booten Gottey?

According to the AP, the Pirates "will recover a significant portion of the $7.5 million owed to infielder Pat Meares, who sat out all of last year with a hand injury."

Meares is in the final year of one of the worst-conceived contracts of all times. Meares had been your average weak-hitting shortstop for the Twins for about 6 seasons. He was basically at the Mendoza line for shortstops. His salary was on the rise in Minnesota, they cut him loose in 1999, and he held out until he had to take a pay cut with the Pirates. Then-GM Cam "Here Ya Go" Bonifray then signed Meares to a ridiculous contract while still in spring training and the Pirates have been paying for it ever since. He's played a grand total of 240 games in 4 season with the Bucs. Even had Meares been healthy over that period, there's no way that he would have been worth the contract

So if you're Meares, you're sitting at home collecting those nice big checks and not complaining, right? No, Meares actually had the temerity to call himself fit for service and demand either to be activated or released. He even filed a grievance against the team amid sausage races. After a standoff during which the Pirates requested that Meares have surgery to repair what he described as a "paralyzed" hand, Meares and the club came to undisclosed terms in October.

Now, Meares will remain on the DL for the entire 2003 season. The Pirates will recoup as much as they can via insurance. And Meares will get a little kickback to play, or rather not play, nice this season.

Meanwhile, Meares has not rules out a comeback in 2004 and the Pirates, should the Hell-freezing event that they reach the playoffs actually occur, will have an open Francisco Rodriguez-sized spot on their roster.

[By the way, the headline is a M*A*S*H line.]

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