The MLB Trade Deadline is quickly approaching, and teams are deciding whether or not they will be buyers or sellers. The Pittsburgh Pirates are looking to be potential buyers, especially after the injury of closer Jason Grilli. Grilli, the National League saves leader, was placed on the DL with a strained right forearm. Whenever you lose your closer to an injury it’s tough, but whenever he leads the NL in saves it’s even tougher.
Jason Grilli might be able to return later in the season, but the Pirates ain’t got time fo dat. Pittsburgh is 1.5 games behind in the NL Central, but the Pirates lead the NL Wild Card race. Winning the Wild Card isn’t as good as it was a few years ago as we saw last year in the postseason. The MLB changed the rule so that two Wild Card teams play in a one game playoff, and the winner goes on to the actual LDS series. With that being said, these last two months or so are very important. The Pirates would like to win the division, which means they would have home field advantage in the NLDS. Pittsburgh hasn’t made the playoffs in recent memory, so they can’t be too picky about how they make the playoffs.
With Grilli being on the Disabled List, it will make the Pirates at least consider looking around for a potential trade to fill that hole. A good, short term replacement will be Chicago Cubs closer Kevin Gregg. This year with the Cubs, Gregg has 19 saves with a 2.80 ERA, which is pretty good. Being that the Cubs will be big time sellers, makes this trade ever more likely. It’s not like the Chicago Cubs are fighting for a playoff spot or anything.
If the Pirates don’t like Kevin Gregg, Jonathan Papelbon might be a possibility, but there are two major things that would hold this back. We aren’t sure if the Philadelphia Phillies would even consider it, and his contract is a problem. Papelbon is owed $13 million this year and $26 million over the next two years. Which pretty much eliminates him from this discussion.
Realistically, Kevin Gregg is the biggest name on the Pirates’ radar. It’s hard to replace what Jason Grilli has done this season, but Gregg will be a good replacement until Grilli can return to action.