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Pirates

Bucs offer contract to Mesa

Joe Rutter
| Friday, Oct. 15, 2004

The Pirates have taken the first step toward possibly bringing back closer Jose Mesa.

General manager Dave Littlefield said Thursday night that he made a contract offer last week to Mesa's agent, Mitch Frankel. He is awaiting Frankel's response.

Mesa, who turns 39 in May, earned $800,000 in base salary and $465,000 in incentives last season, his first with the Pirates. He can become a free agent 15 days after the conclusion of the World Series.

Mesa was 43 of 48 in save situations, while having a 5-2 record and 3.25 ERA in 70 appearances.

Mesa converted his final 10 save opportunities and his 43 saves ranked fifth in the National League and eighth in the majors.

Earlier in the day, the Pirates had their 40-man roster trimmed to 37 when right-handed reliever Mark Corey opted for free agency.

Corey, 29, had been designated for assignment earlier in the week. Once he cleared waivers, he declared free agency rather than accept an outright assignment to Class AAA Nashville.

Corey shuttled between Pittsburgh and Class AAA Nashville fives times last season. With the Pirates, he was 1-2 with a 4.54 ERA in 31 games. At Nashville, he was 1-4 with a 4.42 ERA and 16 saves.

Corey also spent part of the 2003 season with the Pirates, going 1-2 with a 5.34 ERA in 22 games.

In other Pirates news, shortstop Jack Wilson has been named the winner of the Roberto Clemente Award, which is handed out by the Pittsburgh chapter of the Baseball Writers' Association of America. The award is not the same as the national award which also is handed out in Clemente's name.

Wilson batted .308 with 11 home runs and 59 RBI during a breakthrough season that saw him collect 201 hits while also leading the Pirates with 12 triples and 41 doubles.

Reggie Sanders was the 2003 winner of the Clemente award.

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