Plenty of rumors started flying around last Wednesday morning when these tweets surfaced:
Pirates.com beat writer Tom Singer made a lot of people think that “headed here” meant signing with Pittsburgh. However, Grilli had yet to make a decision, but his market was certainly heating up. Around ten teams were said to be chasing the veteran reliever.
More shenanigans ensued on Thursday, as Grilli was rumored to have his list down to four teams (Pirates, Cubs, Giants, Blue Jays) and that he’d be choosing by 10:00 am. But that deadline passed and all was quiet until there were rumblings that he’d be returning to the ‘Burgh. Grilli then denied those claims, saying “I have not made a decision. I don’t know where all these reports are coming from, bit it’s not helping me one bit.”
However, news broke shortly before 4:00 pm on Monday afternoon that he’ll be returning to Pittsburgh in 2013.
Bob Nightengale of USA Today says that Grilli turned down extra cash:
Grilli, who turned 36 last month, posted a 2.91 ERA last season in 64 appearances. He was impressive in the setup role throughout the year, until he stumbled a bit down the stretch. He had a 7.27 ERA and opponents hit .324 against him in his last 10 games. To his defense, the entire team had an abysmal last month of the season, so he’s certainly not the scapegoat.
The deal is for two years and worth $7 million. Many teams wanted to sign Grilli to become their new closer. Obviously, Joel Hanrahan is still on the roster and headed for arbitration. He’s due for a huge raise though; it doesn’t make much sense to keep two high-paid hurlers in the bullpen on a small market team like the Pirates, especially when they still have other needs to address. The Hammer, who’s already been the subject of trade talks this offseason, could be dealt sooner rather than later.
Some Jason Grilli highlights, courtesy of Drew Brown (@_DrewBrown on Twitter):