A day after bringing in their first significant free agent by signing Russell Martin, the Pittsburgh Pirates appear to have now turned their attention to keeping one of their own.
Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports (on Twitter) that the Pirates are trying to retain setup man Jason Grilli, but a number of teams have interest in him as a closer.
#Pirates trying to retain Grilli as a setup man, but he also is drawing interest from other clubs as a closer.
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) November 30, 2012
Grilli, 36, had an outstanding 2012 season and you could have made a case for him to be an All-Star.
Even with some late season bumps in the road, Grilli finished with a 2.91 ERA with 13.08 K/8 and 3.4 BB/9 in 58.2 innings. He’s revived his career the last two seasons, posting a 2.76 ERA with 12.5 K/9 in 91.1 innings since the start of 2011. In addition, only three relievers posted a higher strikeout rate than Grilli did.
However this could be his last chance to cash in on a big deal, which should put the Bucs at a disadvantage. That, parlayed with the fact that Grilli is 36, which usually isn’t the type of player the Pirates invest multiple years in, should still make the Bucs a longshot.
Teams offering Grilli the chance to close is particularly interesting, considering the Pirates could have an opening at the back end of their bullpen as well if Joel Hanrahan is dealt before the season.
Grilli is represented by former big leaguer Gary Sheffield, who said a couple weeks ago that at least eight teams were inquiring about Grilli and that number could be much higher now.
I like Grilli a lot and would like to see him back in a Pirates uniform, but I would be shocked if they are able to bring him back.