Los Angeles Angels Make Smart Move By Swapping Ernesto Frieri for Jason Grilli
Los Angeles needed to get themselves out of the disaster that was Frieri, who had an 0-3 record with a 6.39 ERA, 33 hits allowed and 11 saves in 34 appearances this season. This also including possessing a 7.92 ERA in the ninth inning or later in games and posting a 12.38 ERA in the month of July in just 8.0 innings of work.
His struggles were also effecting the rest of the bullpen around him. In particular, this past 0ffseason’s acquisition in setup man Joe Smith, who has had to step in and fulfill the closer spot on several different occasions this year because of Frieri’s pitching woes. The Angels appeared to be at their wits with the five-year veteran and were able to get in return a viable reliever in Grilli.
Although the 37-year-old is having pitching problems of his own with an 0-2 record with a 4.87 ERA and 11 saves in 22 appearances, he is still a vast upgrade over Frieri. Prior to this season, Grilli had shown himself to be a reliable arm out of the bullpen in his first three years with the Pirates as he posted a sub-3.00 ERA in each campaign. In his first opportunity as the team’s full-time closer in 2013, the right hander was outstanding as he had a 2.70 ERA, and set career highs in saves (33) and WHIP (1.06) that helped him earn his first All-Star game appearance.
Despite his struggles this season, his success on the mound in the last couple of years give the Halos reason to take a chance on the veteran reliever. There may be some risk with the trade given that he is an older player and a chance that his best baseball could behind him. That said, it is a gamble worth taking because of the continued headaches with Frieri and his pitching woes never ceasing to end.
In all likelihood, the change of scenery could be what Grilli needs to get himself back on track and return to his 2013 All-Star form. If he is able to recapture that high level of play with the Halos, he has a chance to be a difference maker for his new team the way he was for Pittsburgh, who last year had their first playoff appearance and best regular season record since 1992.
All in all, this move shows that Los Angeles have their eyes set on making a run for the postseason and the acquisition of Grilli has the potential to greatly impact that task.
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