Pittsburgh Pirates (@Pirates) May 3, 2013
Ten years ago, Baseball America ranked José Contreras as the No. 6 prospect in the whole sport. At 31, the Cuban defector was also probably the oldest No. 6 prospect in the sport's history.
Contreras was a Yankee then, but never really cut it with the Yankees and was traded to the White Sox before pitching a full season for the Bronxians. Later, Contreras pitched for the Rockies for a spell ... a spell that I'd completely forgotten about, even though it was just three years ago (I was pretty busy in 2009). Lately he's been pitching, off and on, out of the Phillies' bullpen.
Contreras basically failed as a starting pitcher, with a 4.63 career ERA in that role. But he's not been wildly successful as a relief pitcher, either; his 3.78 ERA in that role, and his other statistics, are exactly what we would expect from a modestly talented starter who's shifted to bullpen duties. His platoon splits aren't exceptional, either; he's a right-hander but not a righty-killer.
But this isn't really about the Pirates. Contreras is just another veteran -- well, just another really veteran -- righty bullpen arm. This is about us. There's just something about a guy with style who just keeps on pitching for as long they'll let him pitch. Especially when he's 41 years old and still throws 92 like it's nothing.
Now, if someone would just bring El Duque back ...
For much more about Contreras and the Pirates, please visit SB Nation's Bucs Dugout.