The Pittsburgh Pirates and Los Angeles Angels have traded struggling pitchers in attempt to shore up both team's struggling bullpens. Pittsburgh sent Jason Grilli to Anaheim in exchange for Ernesto Frieri.
While neither player has performed particularly well this season, there is hope -- according to statements made by Angels general manager Jerry DiPoto to MLB.com's Alden Gonzalez -- that at least one of the pitchers will benefit from the move. "At the end of the day, sometimes these types of address changes are just good for everybody," DiPoto told Gonzalez in a phone interview. "Obviously, over the last couple weeks, it's been a mighty struggle for Ernie. And he just needed a chance to clear himself out. This is probably best in that regard."
This sentiment was echoed by Pirates GM Neal Huntington, who told the Pittsburgh Sporting News, "Ernesto is a guy we've pursued for the past couple of years and haven't been able to get him. We feel like we've had some success with guys like this in the past with the change of leagues, change of scenery and we think he's going to come in and do a nice job for us."
It's unclear what role either will fill on their new team, having blown nine save opportunities between the two of them. Huntington at least hinted that Frieri might be a closer, telling reporters that "[Frieri]'s a guy that's had success as a closer at the big league level that has quality stuff, that has a good strikeout rate."
Angels manager Mike Scioscia was less forthcoming on Grilli's future, but like Huntington, at least mentioned (in passing) his previous role, telling Gonzalez, "We'll see where he fits in, he's pitched in the back end of games and has done a very good job in that role. We're going to get his feet on the ground here, and then we'll see where he fits."
And, for their part, the Angels don't appear to be done moving players. Gonzalez reports that the team has made it clear that this will not be the last thing they do to bolster the backend of their pitching staff. In fact, Dipoto told Gonzalez so without of the ambiguity used by Scioscia, "We're still open to improving and adding to our team in any way that will help us win. We understand that the bullpen is something that needs to be addressed. I think this is a step in trying to address some of our needs down there, but I'd be surprised if it's the only step."