With Jason Grilli Signed, What Is Pittsburgh Pirates Next Move?


The Pittsburgh Pirates bullpen might have a new look in 2013

Slow and steadfast the Pittsburgh Pirates have been making moves this offseason.  The team has added the typical horde of pitchers, a new catcher, and yesterday took another step in attempting to solidify a roster that lacked the depth to finish on a strong 2012 start.

After an extended decision period, the Pittsburgh Pirates signed Jason Grilli to a two-year deal.   The internet has been filled with Jason Grilli stories this past week.  Look, we have written more than enough words on the Jason Grilli Decision, so we will recap it Ben Franklin style for everyone below.

At the winter meetings last week, word came out that Joel Hanrahan was on the block.  So, the real test of the move here is number seven, bad column.  We think the Pirates are going to move their closer because it would be uncharacteristic for the Bucs to invest that much cash in their bullpen.

We tried to think a bit deeper, hope you follow along.

Yeh, the bullpen was a strength last season.  Early on at least, Jason Grilli was Terminator-esque, with his one run allowed in the entire month of July.  When the games really mattered in 2012, when the team was rolling—this bullpen was as automatic as the 2012 Steelers losing to a piss poor football team.   But then something started happening as the innings piled up.  Grilli started giving up more flyballs.  Hanrahan walked more batters than we can remember.

So just what is going to happen to the Pirates bulllpen in 2013?  Is Hammer on the block because he is due a big raise?  Probably.  Or is Hammer on the block because someone in the front office thinks a down year is looming?

A few options remain looking forward:

1.  The team can keep Hammer and Grilli–yeh, it’s big money for the back end, but it would appear on paper at least, that the team locked up a strength from 2012.  The team then lights a candle and prays the success continues in 2013, each player builds value, and opportunity awaits at the trade deadline when the team can add those pitchers at Triple-A like Gerrit Cole, Phil Irwin, Vic Black, Justin Wilson and maybe even Duke Welker.

Having a strong, experienced, and yes expensive core on the back-end might keep the Bucs in the race until the break for a third straight year.  God, that would drive some Buccos fans to the gates for certain.

2.  The team can now trade Hanranator to the highest bidder–the market for closers certainly is what it once was, but it doesn’t appear to be improving either.   God forbid if Grilli and the newbies don’t lock down games the way the team did in 2012.   We won’t even turn on the internet if that scenario plays out.

3.  The final option is the wild card, how ’bout trading Grilli should he have a strong first half?  It’s hard to believe that the market is so shitty that Grilli could only get $6.75 million for a season like he had, but let’s just say he keeps piling up those strikeouts?  A team could really want a pitcher like Grilli.  It would be a bold move, that’s the move the Buccos usually don’t make, so hence we see it as the wild card.  If you don’t think Grilli could generate that much value, just remember Octavio Dotel.

As we wrote last week, we think the Bucs will probably just trade Hanrahan and the whole scenario is painted as a money saving move.   You know, because it’s all about the money.


Interesting fact about Grilli:   The right hander is most similar in age to Rudy ‘Action Traction’ Seanez who posted some decent numbers in his age 36 season.   Light that candle.

You know what sucks for you?   All of the photoshops we made about Grilli crossing the border to play for Team Canada will never make the light of day.