After being removed from his role as the closer of the Pittsburgh Pirates one week ago, Jason Grilli was settling into his new role as a normal reliever.

But according to Matt Snyder of, the Pirates reached an agreement with the Los Angeles Angels to swap former closers Grilli and Ernesto Frieri.

Neither Grilli nor Frieri has performed up to potential in 2014, but this may be one of the best trades the Pirates have made in a long time.

Frieri owned an earned run average of 6.39 in 31 innings pitched for the Angels in 2014. However, he is no stranger to success on the mound. The 28-year-old from Colombia was signed by the San Diego Padres in 2003, and he has enjoyed great success pitching in the National League.

In 105 appearances out of the bullpen for the Padres from 2009-2012, Frieri owned an impressive 2.33 ERA while averaging 11.4 strikeouts per nine innings pitched.

Now, he is heading back to the National League, and he should be looking forward to a new beginning with a team that is beginning to turn its season around.

Pittsburgh’s bullpen already featured two stars at the back end: current closer Mark Melancon (2.35 ERA, 14 saves) and Tony Watson, who has been arguably the best reliever in the league this season with a record of 5-0 and an ERA of just 0.98.

Now, it has added another dangerous force in Frieri.

Sure, it seems that Frieri lost some effectiveness over the last two seasons with the Angels, pitching to an ERA of 3.80 in 2013 before his awful season this year. However, he is now heading back to the league where he dominated opposing batters from the moment he stepped on a big league mound.

Adding to the excitement in Pittsburgh, it has been proved that a change of scenery is all it could take for a struggling player to really turn his season or career around.

Ask Ike Davis, and he will tell you all about it.

Davis was traded only 12 games into the 2014 regular season after batting .208 with the New York Mets. Since arriving in Pittsburgh, Davis has batted .246 with four home runs and 19 RBI in 60 games played.

At that pace, Davis is currently on track to own his highest single-season batting average since 2011. More importantly, he has helped the Pirates win games and get back into the race for the postseason.

Then there is Grilli, whose glory days seem to be almost over. Now 37 years old, Grilli probably doesn’t have many years left in his tank. After all, his current contract is set to expire after this season.

On the other hand, Frieri is still in the prime of his career at only 28 years of age. If he had owned a high ERA his whole career, this trade wouldn’t be very exciting for Pirates fans.

However, Frieri has shown the ability to dominate opposing batters in the National League, and it would be no surprise to see him turn his season around in Pittsburgh much like Davis is currently doing.


*Statistics courtesy of Baseball-Reference.

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