Pirates After Relief, Accardo Would Have To Be Thrilled To Escape Toronto


The Pittsburgh Pirates are chasing free agent relievers this offseason.  Ken Rosenthal tweeted about it from the Winter Meetings.  Rosenthal states that the Pirates were in on JJ Putz (two years, $10 million with Diamondbacks) and 32-year old Kevin Gregg (1.3 WAR in 2010/at least 23 saves in each of the past four seasons.)  If you look at the track record of the Pirates front office, the number of relief pitchers who turned effective under a Pirates hat would be one of their strengths.   Neal Huntington and crew have struck gold with Joel Hanrahan, Evan Meek, Octavio Dotel, and others. 

One reliever we saw the Pirates were rumored to be interested in was Jeremy Accardo.  The right hander was hurt for most of 2008 following his outstanding year in 2007 when he collected 30 saves for Toronto. 

He pitched most of 2009 with Vegas in AAA, but was brought up to the bigs and pitched rather well over 24.2 innings of work if it wasn’t for his poor walk rate.  He has had some struggles since being the main man and has mainly toiled in the minors.  He wasn’t happy about it either.

After the 09 season he has had public battles with Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos.*  His quote was pretty hard

"“I was lied to a lot last year (which was 2009), where I was told one thing and something else ended up happening. That didn’t sit well with me, but I turned a leaf and we talked and he told me everything’s going to change, and really things haven’t changed.”  Jeremy Accardo"

The relief pitcher thought everything was worked out and he took a one-year deal for a little over a million for the 2010 season.  But Accardo was awful in 2010.  He was roughed up for 12 hits in 6.2 innings of work and the Jays used his option to send him back down to AAA.

While pitching in Vegas he did allow 10.6 hits per nine innings which was up from 9.6H/9 the year prior.  The stats continue to show that his 2010 season was far from perfect.  His strikeout per nine innings dropped from 8.1 to 5.3K/9.  His walk rate increased from 2.4 BB/9 to 3.1 BB/9.  The PCL is a hitter friendly environment so the 42 games he pitched should be taken into consideration, but reports are the decrease in velocity is the real reason he became so hittable last year.

Accardo turns 29 in a few days and the Bucs have had some success in resurecting bullpen arms in the past.  Can he return to the pitcher who was so effective in 2007 when he allowed 6.8H/9 and struckout batters to the tune of 7.6K/9?  Certainly time will tell, but since Accardo has had success closing games in one season, maybe the front office feels comfortable in being able to acquire a player like Accardo.

It seems unlikely, but if he could somehow return to form, Accardo will hold value especially in a June deal which GM Neal Huntington did so effectively this season.  If nothing else, it could be worth a camp invite hoping he can catch magic in a bottle.

But there is one thing that is certain, Accardo will be looking forward to leaving the Jays organization due to one especially interesting situation– a cancelled wedding, with less than 24 hours notice, to the niece of the vice-chairman of the company that owns the Jays.  Heh, the guy has some courage right?

Clipped from: www.thestar.com (share this clip)