NEW ORLEANS -- The Pittsburgh Pirates finished 12 games
below .500 last season, but their minor leaguers proved enticing
for the rest of baseball.
The Pirates lost five players among the first six chosen in
Monday's winter meetings draft, including catcher Chris Shelton,
who went to Detroit as the first overall pick.
San Diego then took outfielder Rich Thompson, whom they later
traded to Kansas City for right-hander Jason Szuminski and cash.
After Tampa Bay took righty Alec Zumwalt from the Atlanta
organization, three more Pirate farmhands fell off the board.
Lefty Frank Brooks went to the Mets, righty Jeff Bennett went to
the Brewers and infielder Jose Bautista was taken by the Orioles.
The Mets traded Brooks to the Oakland Athletics for a player to be
Cleveland also had five players picked as a total of 20 were
chosen in the major league portion of the draft.
Players are eligible for the draft if they are not on a team's
40-man roster and have been in professional baseball for three
seasons -- four if they signed before turning 18.
Players selected must remain on the 25-man active roster or the
disabled list for all of 2004 or be offered back to their former
teams for $25,000.
Also taken Monday was Florida righty Jason Grilli, a former
first-round draft pick who has battled injuries, by the Chicago
Grilli, the son of ex-major leaguer Steve Grilli, went 10-4 with
a 3.05 ERA while splitting last season between Class A and
"We believe he is healthy and has a chance to compete for a job
in our bullpen this spring," said Duane Shaffer, White Sox senior
director of player personnel.