Pirates notebook: Reliever Grilli remains unsigned
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Hours after Pirates executives returned from baseball's four-day winter meetings, they still did not know if their final move of the confab would come to fruition.
The Pirates were one of three finalists to sign free-agent reliever Jason Grilli, whose agent was expected to announce a decision Thursday morning at the Gaylord Opryland Hotel. But following an afternoon full of conflicting Internet reports about Grilli's decision, darkness fell in Pittsburgh with the 36-year-old veteran still unsigned.
On Wednesday, the Pirates submitted to Grilli a two-year contract when they met with Grilli's agent, Gary Sheffield. The Toronto Blue Jays and Chicago Cubs made similar offers. The San Francisco Giants, hesitant to offer a multiyear deal, fell out of contention Thursday morning.
There were no indications Thursday night that Grilli had asked teams to revise their offers or that he was reopening the bidding.
“We feel like we made a very fair offer to Jason,” Pirates general manager Neal Huntington said. “We sure hope it keeps him in a Pirates uniform. If it doesn't, we're going to wish him nothing but success because he did great things with us. He's a great guy. Our hope is he continues to mentor our young pitchers and continues to strike out hitters for us.”
In 92 games over the past two seasons with the Pirates, Grilli went 3-7 with a 2.76 ERA and a 1.161 WHIP. For his career, Grilli is 21-25 with a 4.34 ERA and a 1.413 WHIP.
Three of Grilli's five career saves came with the Pirates. Those numbers would soar if Joel Hanrahan is traded as Grilli is first in line to take over as closer.
Hanrahan is likely to make around $7 million next season and will be a free agent in 2014. The Pirates, who are expected to have a 2013 payroll of about $70 million (not including portions of salaries that will be paid by other clubs), don't want to shell out $10 million — roughly twice as much as emerging star Andrew McCutchen will make — for two late-inning relievers.
Grilli blossomed last summer as Hanrahan's setup man. He ranked second in the NL with 32 holds. His deadliest weapon is the fastball, and Grilli ranked fourth among NL relievers with 13.81 strikeouts per nine innings.
In 2012, Grilli made $1.1 million, which was about as much as he made in 2009 and '11 combined. He sat out the entire '10 season while recovering from knee surgery.
Quiet week ends
After a relatively quiet week at the meetings, the Pirates contingent flew out of Nashville around 1 p.m. on Thursday. However, that doesn't mean Huntington is done shaping the roster.
“When we jump on a plane, the activity doesn't stop,” said Huntington, who continues to seek a pitcher for the back end of the starting rotation. “There were things we laid the groundwork for last year at the winter meetings that came to fruition later on in the season. This is just another mile marker.”
The lone trade the Pirates made was picking up left-hander Andrew Oliver, who will compete for a job in the rotation in spring camp. At the start of the meetings, Huntington said the team's “big move” was netting free-agent catcher Russell Martin, who signed last week.
“The rest of it now is upgrades,” Huntington said. “How do we improve our offense, our defense, our depth? That's the goal as we go forward.”
Rule 5 draft
For the first time since Huntington became general manager, the Pirates did not take a player in the major league phase of the Rule 5 draft.
“We liked some of the guys who didn't get to us (with the 13th pick),” Huntington said.
In the Triple-A phase, the Pirates chose right-hander Phillip Hollingsworth, 25, from the Royals. Also, the Pirates lost infielder Elvys Gonzalez, who was taken by the Dodgers.
At Triple-A Omaha this season, Hollingsworth pitched in 11 games (two starts) and went 2-3 with a 6.44 ERA and and 1.875 WHIP. He also pitched in 23 games (six starts) for Double-A Northwest Arkansas and went 3-8 with a 4.17 ERA and 1.364 WHIP.
“We've like him this year, last year, the year before,” player development director Larry Broadway said. “He's a guy who might fit in some sort of starter capacity in the minor leagues for us.”
The Pirates did not make any picks in the Double-A phase of the Rule 5 draft.
Rob Biertempfel is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 412-320-7811.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Pirates third baseman Ramirez’s last ride is about winning a ring
- Gameday: Pirates at Twins, July 28, 2015
- Cole collects MLB-best 14th win as Pirates take series against Nationals
- Pirates notebook: No sign of improvement for RHP Sadler
- Nationals pound Burnett, Pirates
- Making splash at MLB trade deadline not always in buyers’ best interest
- Starting 9: Pirates help and the illusion of help
- Pirates trade for familiar face in Ramirez
- Pirates notebook: Ramirez thrown into spotlight upon joining Pirates
- Gameday: Pirates vs. Nationals July 25, 2015
- Rossi: Luck be a lady for the Pirates