Bullpen Rumors: Uehara, Grilli, Bell, Adams, Qualls

The Pirates are looking for bullpen upgrades to join Hanrahan.

Three bullpen rumors this afternoon, since it seems like the Pirates are serious about upgrading that area of the team:

-Ken Rosenthal reports that the Pittsburgh Pirates are eyeing Baltimore Orioles reliever Koji Uehara.  Uehara has been excellent this year, with a 1.84 ERA in 44 innings, along with a tremendous 58:8 K/BB ratio.  He’s also proven that he can start, with a 4.05 ERA in 66.2 innings over 12 starts in 2009, with a 6.5 K/9 and a 1.9 BB/9 ratio.  One downside is that he has a $4 M 2012 option that vests with 55 appearances.  He currently has 40, and would be a near lock to reach 55 this year, which would leave the Pirates on the hook for a $4 M reliever in 2012.  That might not be as bad if they use him as a starting option.

-Rosenthal also reports that the Pirates could soon be acquiring Jason Grilli from the Philadelphia Phillies.  Grilli is on a minor league contract with the Phillies, and has received at least one major league offer.  The Pirates are interested, so the offer could be from them.  The Phillies have three days to decide whether to promote Grilli to the majors, or lose him to a team offering a major league spot.  Rosenthal mentions that Grilli has been throwing 93-95 MPH with a power slider.  He struggled in 2009, but had a good year under Clint Hurdle in 2008 with a 2.93 ERA in 61.1 innings out of the bullpen.

Honestly, the move doesn’t make much sense for the Pirates.  Chris Leroux is pitching well, albeit in a small sample of games.  Meanwhile, Grilli is more of a depth option, filling out the bullpen rather than upgrading the late innings.  One benefit is that the Pirates move Leroux down to AAA with the move, giving them available depth in the event of an injury.  Of course, they run the risk of downgrading the last bullpen spot if Grilli doesn’t return to 2008 form, which really isn’t a massive blow to the team.

-I tweeted this last night, but Jon Heyman of SI reports that the Pirates are looking at Padres relievers, mentioning Heath Bell, Mike Adams, and Chad Qualls.  Honestly, I’ve never really been a fan of Qualls.  He’s good, but I’d rather stick with Jose Veras and Chris Resop in the late innings.  As for Bell and Adams, they’d both be upgrades in the late innings, although the price to get them would be high, and those resources might be best used on offensive upgrades.

Enjoy this story? Pirates Prospects will be switching to a subscription site on 4/13, so that we can continue bringing you the best Pirates coverage there is. For a very small monthly price, you can continue getting articles like this, along with coverage from every minor league city. Get more information here, and subscribe today!

Share This Article

Tim Williams

Tim is the owner and editor in chief of Pirates Prospects. He started the site in January 2009, and turned it into his full time job during the 2011 season. Prior to starting Pirates Prospects, Tim worked with AccuScore.com, providing MLB, NHL, and NFL coverage to various national media outlets, including ESPN Insider, USA Today, Yahoo Sports, and the Wall Street Journal. He also writes the annual Prospect Guide, which is sold through the site. Tim lives in Bradenton, where he provides live coverage all year of Spring Training, mini camp, instructs, the Bradenton Marauders, and the GCL Pirates.

Pirates Prospects 7/19 Radio Appearances

Next Story »

Neal Huntington on Three Pirates Needs

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_6KEYHS3XWH74U3LRIHGWL7XPBA Nate

    The stats may say one thing, but watching Veras can cause quite a bit of stress.  Not sure I’d be confident with out there in the 8th inning of a playoff game.  Upgrades are always welcomed. 

    • Lee Young

      I was sooooooooooo happy they kept Resop in for the 9th.

      Today, if needed, I wonder if Hanrahan can close. If not, do we go with ‘gulp’ Veras?

      • Lee Young

        Resop for the 8th, not 9th.

Latest Analysis

  • Arquimedes Caminero

    Breaking Down the Final Pirates Roster Battles After Today’s Cuts

    1 day ago

    With less than a week remaining in camp, the Pittsburgh Pirates made their latest round of cuts this morning, sending three relievers to minor league camp, including ...

    Read More
  • Keller Supak Hinsz

    Even With the New Draft Rules, the Pirates Are Still Loading Up on Projectable Pitchers

    3 days ago

    From 2008-2011, the Pittsburgh Pirates spent a lot of resources on projectable pitchers out of high school. So far, this approach has led to breakout performances from ...

    Read More
  • Josh Bell made the move to first base over the off-season. (Photo credit: David Hague)

    Why Should You Care About Prospects?

    4 days ago

    Yesterday I had a shorter day than usual. The Pirates had cuts at the MLB level, and a road game. The day was shortened at Pirate City, ...

    Read More
  • Gregory Polanco

    Q&A: Trading Prospects For Rentals, Polanco Concerns, Meadows vs Appel

    5 days ago

    I missed the Q&A last week due to a common problem in Spring Training: I forgot what day it was. It was around 6:00 that I was ...

    Read More
  • Nick Kingham f

    Improving His Two-Seam Fastball will Make Nick Kingham a More Effective Pitcher

    6 days ago

    With Jameson Taillon returning from Tommy John surgery, and unlikely to make an impact at the Major League level early in the year, the top prospect to ...

    Read More
  • Arquimedes Caminero 3

    The Roster Situations That Could Impact the Makeup of the Pirates Bullpen

    1 week ago

    There are less than two weeks remaining in Spring Training, and the one area where the Pittsburgh Pirates had actual position battles is heating up. There were ...

    Read More
  • Jordan Luplow

    How the Pirates are Trying to Stay Ahead of the Curve With the New Draft Rules

    1 week ago

    The 2011 Collective Bargaining Agreement brought a lot of changes to Major League Baseball. The biggest change for the Pittsburgh Pirates came in the draft. From 2008-2011, ...

    Read More
  • Alen Hanson

    The Key For Alen Hanson to Help the Pirates in the Majors This Year

    1 week ago

    When the Pittsburgh Pirates moved Alen Hanson to second base last year, part of the plan was to get him to the majors faster by putting him at ...

    Read More
  • Tyler Glasnow 2

    What the Stats Don’t Tell You About Tyler Glasnow

    2 weeks ago

    The stat line for Tyler Glasnow’s start at Pirate City yesterday looked great: 3 IP, 0 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 1 K. The lone run ...

    Read More
  • JaCoby Jones Josh Bell

    JaCoby Jones Did Fine in the Move to Shortstop, But Needs to Cut Down on Strikeouts

    2 weeks ago

    The Pittsburgh Pirates drafted JaCoby Jones as an outfielder in the third round of the 2013 draft, then surprised everyone the following year when they moved him ...

    Read More
  • Browse More Articles

    More