Less than a week ago, the Pittsburgh Pirates decided that Jason Grilli was no longer good enough to be their closer. On Friday the Pirates decided he wasn’t good enough for their team period, trading the pitcher to the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim in exchange for pitcher Ernesto Frieri.
Grilli’s 2014 belly flop was truly vexing for the Pirates coming off his 2013 season where he collected 33 saves while posting a 2.70 ERA and 74-13 K-to-BB ratio. In 2014, his ERA ballooned to 4.87 and his K-to-BB became a Marmol-like 21-11. Way too many walks for a closer.
The Pittsburgh-bound Frieri has not exactly been dominating this year for the Angels, with his 6.39 ERA in 34 appearances and 1.355 WHIP. Like Grilli, Frieri was much more effective in 2013, saving 37 games for Los Angeles.
This swap of failed closers is a change-of-scenery move for both pitchers. The Angels and Pirates are both just hoping the guy they have picked up will get it together in a new place and regain the form they had in years past.
It’s not often you see teams straight up exchange flatlining pitchers. Will either of these guys get it together the second half of the season and give some value? It’s a gamble for both clubs.