UPDATE: Our own Craig Calcaterra reports that Grilli is re-signing with the Pirates, citing a source with knowledge of the situation.
Jason Grilli’s breakout season as a setup man in Pittsburgh made him a very popular free agent target and agent Gary Sheffield (yes, that Gary Sheffield) has said the right-hander is close to signing.
According to Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com he’s narrowed the choices down to the Pirates, Cubs, and Blue Jays, with a two-year deal expected wherever Grilli winds up.
Grilli was a marginal big leaguer for a decade or so, but in two years with the Pirates he threw 91 innings with a 2.76 ERA and 127 strikeouts. That works out to 12.5 strikeouts per nine innings, which was the fifth-highest strikeout rate in baseball during that time behind only Craig Kimbrel, Kenley Jansen, Aroldis Chapman, and David Robertson.
Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reports that the Pirates will sign reliever Felipe Rivero to a four-year contract extension that includes two club options. The total value of the deal is believed to be $22 million and each club option is worth $10 million.
Rivero, 26, did not come to an agreement with the Pirates to avoid arbitration in his first year of eligibility ahead of last Friday’s deadline. He requested a $2.9 million salary for the 2018 season while the Pirates countered at $2.4 million. This extension will cover all four years of Rivero’s arbitration eligibility and the two club options can cover his first two years of free agency as well.
Rivero was one of baseball’s best relievers last season, finishing with 21 saves, a 1.67 ERA, and an 88/20 K/BB ratio in 75 1/3 innings. The Pirates acquired him from the Nationals along with minor leaguer Taylor Hearn ahead of the 2016 non-waiver trade deadline in the Mark Melancon deal.
Presumably, Rivero’s extension was in the works before he knew anything about the Andrew McCutchen trade. He made a couple of tweets following this afternoon’s news. In one, he used only the “facepalm” emoji. The other was a .gif of The Office character Jim Halpert yelling, “What is going on?”