Grilled Cheese is no longer a satisfying late inning menu option for the Pittsburgh Pirates. The swift fall for Jason Grilli from all-star closer to exiled is now complete. Yesterday the Pirates sent Grilli to the Angels for reliever Ernesto Frieri. Much like Grilli, Frieri is a struggling reliever that was yanked from the closer role. Frieri has blown three saves this season and has a bloated ERA of 6.39. But Frieri has some good peripherals that indicate he may have just gone through a tough luck stretch. He has a 3.19 xFIP and has whiffed 38 batters in 31 innings while surrendered just 9 walks. The issue for Frieri has been the long ball. Opposing hitters have tagged him for 8 home runs already this season. Grilli has also been susceptible to the long ball this season, but more concerning has been his control issues and inability to miss bats. Frankly, I’m surprised the Bucs could get anything at all for Grilli. Since straining his elbow last July he just has not been a very effective reliever. He looked like a guy that could be DFA’d at any moment. Moving an ineffective 37 year old pitcher with health concerns for a struggling 28 year old pitcher that still has some upside seems like a no brainer. Perhaps the change of scenery will serve them both well.
I don’t want to disparage Jason Grilli on the way out the door. He has given Pirate fans some great moments since he revitalized his career almost three years ago. Let us say good bye by remembering one his of his greatest performances. On 5/28/13 Grilli struck out the heart of the Tigers order to nail down a 1-0 victory for the Pirates.