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Pirates, Angels swap closers Jason Grilli, Ernesto Frieri

Jun 27, 2014, 6:26 PM EDT

Jason Grilli Jason Grilli

The Pirates and Angels have swapped struggling closers, as Jason Grilli will head to the Angels and Ernesto Frieri will join the Pirates,’s Tom Singer reports.

Frieri, 28, enjoyed some success for the Angels in his new role as the closer last season, but faced unending difficulty this year. The right-hander is 0-3 with 11 saves in 14 chances and a 6.39 ERA. He struck out 38, walked nine, and allowed eight home runs in 31 innings.

Grilli, 37, lost his role as the Pirates’ closer to Mark Melancon when he went on the disabled list with a strained left oblique on April¬†21. He returned on May 23, and manager Clint Hurdle put him back in the closer’s role on May 30, but the results weren’t much better. Overall, Grilli¬†was 0-2 with 11 saves in 15 chances and a 4.87 ERA. He struck out 21, walked 11, and allowed four home runs in 20 1/3 innings.

Angels manager Mike Scioscia isn’t immediately slotting Grilli in to the closer’s role, according to Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register. It’s not yet known how this trade will affect current Pirates closer Melancon. Melancon has performed well in the role for the Pirates thus far.

  1. sabatimus - Jun 27, 2014 at 6:37 PM

    Pretty much garbage for garbage.

    • dan1111 - Jun 28, 2014 at 11:41 AM

      Everyone knows that another team’s struggling player is a nice bargain pick-up, unlike one’s own struggling player, who is worthless.

      The overall talent of the league would increase massively if they just traded all the bad players around constantly.

      • gloccamorra - Jun 28, 2014 at 10:11 PM

        Golly! Why aren’t you a candidate for the Padres’ GM job?

  2. ashoreinhawaii - Jun 27, 2014 at 6:37 PM

    Grilli was good for the Pirates, they for him.
    He really worked hard on a long road to come back from injuries.
    Maybe a change of scenery is all he needs, and sunny So. Cal ain’t a bad place to be.

  3. felser - Jun 27, 2014 at 6:42 PM

    Frieri will figure it out. 38/9 K/BB ratio is excellent. May be a mental thing on the gopher balls.

    • locustfarm - Jun 27, 2014 at 7:26 PM

      Hard to tell at this point. He pitched a lot of innings in Angel Stadium, which is a pitcher’s park, and the amount of home runs he’d given up was painful.

    • 1981titan - Jun 27, 2014 at 7:54 PM

      Fieri will do the same as all pitchers who leave the Angels. He will be an All-Star next year. The pattern will continue.

  4. 2bbige - Jun 27, 2014 at 6:44 PM

    If Frieri is true to form (as in other stops) he will start out like a ball of fire in Pitt and finish like a fart!

    • gloccamorra - Jun 28, 2014 at 10:14 PM

      You may be right, but he’ll fart sometime NEXT year. The Pirates got him for THIS year.

  5. musketmaniac - Jun 27, 2014 at 6:52 PM

    Than will give oxygen to the fireball, and close the door when he farts. interesting move. could be mole hill could be mountain.

  6. moogro - Jun 27, 2014 at 7:14 PM

    Eek, pirates. Frieri is pretty bad.

  7. paco53 - Jun 27, 2014 at 7:25 PM

    Chances are one or both of these guys will benefit from a change of leagues. Sometimes change is good. Since I am a Reds fan, I hope it is not Frieri. Still, I give both GMs a thumbs up for trying.

  8. johnmr12 - Jun 27, 2014 at 7:49 PM

    Typical DiPoto trade. Get rid of one terrible closer and acquire another. Too bad he didn’t use part of the 50 mil he is paying Josh and Albert to get a real closer. In the end, the angels are a wild card team at best who will be out in the first round. You don’t win post season games with bad closers and a mediocre bullpen.

    • moogro - Jun 27, 2014 at 8:54 PM

      And a cursed team name foisted upon you.

  9. infieldhit - Jun 27, 2014 at 11:09 PM

    One of Grilli’s historical comps is none other than Jerry Dipoto.

  10. pondersucks07 - Jun 28, 2014 at 12:13 AM

    A 28 year old Pitcher for a 37 year old Pitcher. Pirates win in this trade. Change of leagues will give Frieri a breath of life. 37 and coming back from a injury is not a good trade, Angels just looking to dump big contract. Angels can under pay someone else to pitch that bad as a closer.

  11. rcali - Jun 28, 2014 at 12:15 AM

    The headline should read “Pirates, Angels swap middle relievers Jason Grilli, Ernesto Frieri”

  12. corvetteman6 - Jun 28, 2014 at 7:49 AM

    I tip my cap to Huntington for pulling a trigger on this deal. Let’s face it, Grilli lost something. But to any Pirates fan who thinks Melancon is the long term answer, get real. This guy was a good 8th inning set up man. He’s not the real deal.
    Now if Huntington is allowed to pursue a playoff run, he should seriously think of getting some value for Alvarez as the guy is too much a liability in return for an occasional homer. Mercer, Ike Davis, Gabi Sanchez? This is just not a playoff team.

    • dan1111 - Jun 28, 2014 at 9:50 AM

      “Good 8th inning set up man” = closer. Unless you think some guys can’t handle the pressure of always starting with the bases empty.

  13. novasportsfan - Jun 28, 2014 at 10:39 AM

    Thanks for last year Grilled Cheese and good luck in LA.

  14. jkaflagg - Jun 28, 2014 at 11:45 PM

    When he first came to he Angels from San Diego, Frieri featured a fastball with plus movement – his biggest issues were walks when his pitches moved out of the strike zone.

    Now his velocity is about the same, but his pitches lack that late movement that results in strikeouts and weak contact….and a hard, straight fastball can mean a lot of home runs. Whatever the problem, the Angels couldn’t fix it, but…..relievers tend to have success once they get out of Anaheim, so there’s still hope for him…will not replace Melancon but could be a solid setup guy….

    Grilli ? Another shot in the ocean by the Angels who is strictly a one-year deal; fortunately the one and only thing the Angel farm system has is solid relief prospects.

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